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EC2 Elastic GPUs boost compute efficiency, flexibility

AWS customers can add graphic acceleration to instances, but with little flexibility. To change that, the cloud provider has finally fulfilled a promise from early last year, with Elastic GPUs that fit enterprise needs.

Developers attach Elastic GPUs to Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances to boost graphics performance in applications for intermittent spikes in workloads. EC2 Elastic GPUs are network-attached compute power available in sizes ranging from 1 GB to 8 GBs.

GPU users were previously limited to spinning up a G2 or G3 instance. But those require investment in a full physical GPU, which overshoots some business needs, resulting in costly and wasteful resource usage. Teams can use Elastic GPUs at a lower price than G2 and G3 instances, using just a portion of the physical GPU for graphics-intensive apps.

Elastic GPUs also help customers that need graphics acceleration without being restricted to a particular instance type. They choose another instance type – such as memory- or storage-optimized – and attach an Elastic GPU to it.

Elastic GPUs for Windows are now generally available in US-East-1 and US-East-2. AWS also revealed pricing details for Elastic GPUs and documentation.

Busy month for AWS

August was a busy month for AWS, with updates from both the AWS Summit in New York and VMworld in Las Vegas.

AWS and VMware finally released their hybrid cloud service nine months after they unveiled the partnership. Enterprises were particularly interested in pricing and functionality details, while small businesses might not be a fit for the service.

At the AWS Summit, AWS unveiled new services for migration and security, a variety of new features for Elastic File System (EFS), Config and CloudTrail, and an upgrade to CloudHSM. And AWS Glue, a service revealed at last year’s re:Invent, is now generally available.

More new features and support

  • DynamoDB adds VPC Endpoints. Amazon DynamoDB offers more secure network traffic via a free Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Endpoints feature, which is now generally available. VPC Endpoints keeps traffic within the AWS cloud instead of exposed in the public internet, in line with businesses’ strict compliance needs.
  • More HIPAA eligibility. A new AWS Quick Start helps healthcare enterprises automate a deployment based on a CloudFormation customizable template that adheres to HIPAA regulatory requirements. Additionally, Amazon Cloud Directory implemented new controls to help teams build and run apps that meet HIPAA and PCI DSS guidelines. As with all HIPAA-eligible services, an AWS user must first execute a Business Associate Agreement before building an app that achieves compliance.
  • Develop serverless functions locally. A new beta Command Line Interface tool, AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), enables dev teams to test and debug AWS Lambda functions on premises. Developers can write functions in Node.js, Java, and Python, choose an integrated development environment, and simulate function triggers and make calls via Amazon API Gateway to invoke functions.
  • AWS Marketplace adds functionality, new region. Users can now visualize, analyze and control their AWS Marketplace spending via new integration with several existing cost management tools: AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Cost and Usage Report and AWS Budgets. In addition, the AWS Marketplace also is now available in the AWS GovCloud region for public sector customers.
  • New capabilities for Simple Email Service. A new Reputation Dashboard helps Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) users track bounce and compliant rates for an account, and act on sending failures. Amazon SES also added dedicated IP pools so an AWS customer can send emails from a specific IP address, or organize IP addresses into configurable pools for large email sends. SES also added capabilities that enable businesses to track and optimize email recipient engagement.
  • AWS adds global edge locations. AWS added three new edge locations for its Amazon CloudFront CDN service: Chicago (now home to two edge locations), Frankfurt (six locations) and Paris (three locations). In all, AWS has 93 global edge locations.
  • Amazon RDS SQL Server quadruples max database size. Database instances for SQL Server on Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) now range up to 16 TB of storage, four times higher than the previous maximum of 4 TB. The range for IOPS to storage also increased five times, from 10:1 to 50:1. With these new limits, available on Provisioned IOPS and General Purpose storage types in all regions, databases and data warehouses can support larger workloads without additional RDS instances.
  • New CodeCommit features. Amazon’s code repository service, AWS CodeCommit, added several new features and integrations. The service now sends repository state changes to Amazon CloudWatch Events, which enables developers to trigger workflows based on those changes. CodeCommit users can now view, change and save preferences to customize the service’s dashboard presentation. Finally, CodeCommit added a Git tags view that eases code repository navigation.
  • EFS adds more permissions. Amazon EFS added support for special permissions, enabling administrators to customize granular access permissions for directories. EFS now supports setgid, which applies ownership of new directory files to the group associated with the directory, and sticky bit special permissions, which restrict file deletion or renaming to either the file or directory owner or to the root user. EFS users can now also manage access to executable files so that end users can launch them but not read or write them.
  • CloudTrail supports Lex. Amazon CloudTrail now integrates with Amazon Lex to track application programming interface (API) calls to and from the conversational interface app.
  • New render management tool. AWS’ new render management system, Deadline 10, is now available, allowing developers to launch and manage rendering fleets.
  • Amazon Cloud Directory boosts search performance. Amazon Cloud Directory users can now optimize searches by defining facets of schema to limit queries to subsets of a directory. A schema contains multiple attributes called facets, which help create different object classes and enable multiple apps to share one directory.

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