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EC2 Dedicated Hosts separate complex cloud workloads

While regular EC2 instances fit many workloads, Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts allow enterprises to isolate compute resources for performance and compliance.

Enterprises migrating to the cloud have several ways to make the switch. Enterprise users looking to move complex...

legacy production workloads to AWS -- without the risk of interference or noncompliance to industry regulations because of a shared cloud infrastructure -- can use Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts.

EC2 Dedicated Hosts don't share the same physical hardware with other AWS instances. When an administrator launches an EC2 Dedicated Host, Amazon guarantees that only her workloads will run on the dedicated hardware. And while a common Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance is suitable for most types of workloads, some workloads require isolation from other resources.

Why use AWS Dedicated Hosts?

One main advantage of infrastructure as a service is that IT teams can quickly move systems without modifying the underlying architecture. Rewriting the application code is unnecessary; it allows IT teams to easily replicate existing applications. Rehosting, also known as lift and shift, to EC2 Dedicated Hosts is a good option for enterprises looking to move heavy workloads quickly -- while only having to make configuration changes.

But there are a few factors that enterprises must consider before purchasing these instances, including performance, licensing, compliance and flexibility.

Rehosting, also known as lift and shift, to EC2 Dedicated Hosts is a good option for enterprises looking to move heavy workloads quickly.

Performance. The main driver behind using AWS Dedicated Hosts is the need to move from the generic, shared EC2 infrastructure and maintain a complete segregation from other tenants. In normal, On-Demand EC2 instances, the compute, network and underlying storage are shared among AWS customers. For example, if another tenant sends large amounts of write requests to the storage array, this can make your disk I/Os unpredictable. While it is simple to scale up instance sizes, scaling disk I/O is not as straightforward. AWS provides high disk I/O instances, but users still build RAID arrays out of Elastic Block Store instances. For that purpose, dedicated hosts are a good alternative.

Licensing. Running enterprise legacy workloads in virtualized environments requires that the company license the entire host. For example, when virtualizing Oracle on VMware, enterprises have to have a license for every node in a cluster, every node accessing common storage and, essentially, every node in the entire enterprise. A license is needed for each Oracle host.

Migrating such workloads to AWS Dedicated Hosts gives enterprises a good way to maintain costly licenses. In addition, because they have visibility into the host hardware configuration, the enterprise can manage licenses that are per socket or per core.

Compliance. An organization can have certain restrictions regarding the placement and accessibility of its data. EC2 Dedicated Hosts' placement function allows IT teams to control the physical location of the virtual resource (instance) at any point in time.

Flexibility. AWS runs on real hardware, but there's also abstraction level that helps with performance. Running on a dedicated hosting provider might delay IT operations.

For example, if a host fails, admins can call support and wait a few hours to get a new one back. With workloads running on AWS, the admin simply boots another machine. There's no need to deal with RAID, backups or how long it will take to provision a new host.

The need for dedicated physical or virtual systems is going away, being replaced by a heavy need for I/O to serve both large, legacy databases as well as modern big data. Single-tenant resources are still critical elements; combining the power of AWS Dedicated Hosts with the flexibility and agility of the public cloud gives AWS customers more options.

Next Steps

Get to know the Amazon EC2 instance types

EC2 Dedicated servers align with Microsoft licensing

Should you run Oracle on EC2 or RDS?

This was last published in April 2016

Dig Deeper on Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) management

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