Amazon EC2 boosts memory, Windows support

The new extra-large memory option will help customers perform advanced computation

Amazon Web Services has added a new "high memory extra-large" instance option for its AWS' Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, which provides scalable computing infrastructure over the Internet.

The new higher-memory instances include support for all operating systems. Specifications are 17.1GB of memory, 420GB of storage, 6.5 EC2 Compute Units and a 64-bit platform.

Amazon's move is meant "to help out with analytics and data-crunching applications," said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté. "While databases, middleware, and other algorithms have gotten around memory limitations for years, simply having more memory to work with is an effective way to brute-force much computation."

And in a move against Microsoft's competing Azure service, Amazon also announced Windows support for its Reserved Instance offerings.

While many AWS customers purchase processing capacity on a pay-as-you-go basis, reserved instances let them make a one-time payment to secure an instance for a fixed term. In exchange, the customer gets a discount on hourly charges.

Amazon already offers Windows for on-demand instances.

"The issue, as with all metered execution in the cloud, is making sure the applications run the minimal amount of time, thus, are cheaper to run than dedicated servers," Coté said.

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