back to article You've got $60k: So, 2013 sporty Corvette, or a year of AWS's new I2 beast?

Amazon has soothed developers miffed at the notorious variability of its rentable servers with a new expensive class of reliable instances. The "I2" instances were officially launched by Amazon on Friday after being previewed at its AWS re:invent show in November, and see the company bring SSD-backed servers with fast …


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  1. Sheep!

    So how fast could you mine bitcoins on one of these instances?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think that's the problem, the mining is costing more in resources then you get for the currency.

      But of course you really need to see Bitcoin as a commodity or shares that will go up in price.

    2. Matt_payne666

      Surprisingly slowly... top of the head sums... but

      A Celeron based machine with 4 top end gpu's would eat that machine for breakfast (single 3.4ghz Haswell core mines at 25mhs single ATI 7970 mines at 600mhs)

  2. Don Jefe

    Well, I've had three Corvettes, one each of the last three generations, hoping they would finally make a real US sports car, no luck. Much like regular AWS services, the Corvette is expensive, awkward, slow and not suitable for any sort of demanding application.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One is compelled to ask... why do you keep buying them if you don't like them?

      Disclaimer: have owned Austin-Healey (100-6), MGA, Jensen-Healy, Fiat 124 Sport Spyder, C5 and now C6. What exactly in your mind is a "real" sports car?

      1. Don Jefe

        Real sports car meaning a two seat consumer vehicle configured from the factory as a street legal production version of the race car. Not a sporty car or a sporting car, nor a hot rod or a grand touring car or non-production exotic.

        I keep buying them because they keep making real advancements in the vehicles and I would really, really, really like to see a US built sports car that wasn't a pile of shit. You can't actually know what you're getting until you've put a few thousand miles on a car.

        I'm somewhat nostalgic about when extended duration races with marginally practical production vehicles actually sold cars and the engineer in me finds a lot to admire in the engineering that goes into a vehicle built and raced as a race car but sold on the same form (except tires, exhaust, roll cage & cockpit fuel cutoff/battery disconnect of course) at scale in a showroom right next to the pickups. That's a difficult thing to do and as an 'American' I would like a US company to be able to do it well. Maybe someday.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          De gusitbus non est disputandum (sp?)

          Ah well. Your definition is a little more constrained than mine. Actually, I'm a 'roadster' fan, not a 'sport car' person. Two seats and a retractable top is all I ask. My first 'vette showed me that a little power can be fun too.

          After you've survived early Lucas electrical systems and SU carbs, you learn to enjoy the advances of modern technology.

          Plus, the Corvette is an 'old fart' car and I'm an old fart.

          1. Don Jefe
            Thumb Up

            Re: De gusitbus non est disputandum (sp?)

            Roadsters rock! I'm ridiculously talk and stupidly proportioned though and I always think I look like a giant dick in a car with the top down. Many long times ago I had a '59 Austin Healey Sprite and I loved that car but it was easier for me to peak over the windshield than through it. It was just like a go kart and so much fun to drive and girls loved it :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: FINALLY!!

      But can it run Crysis?

  4. MrT

    Seems a bit much...

    ...just to answer emails. I'll take the Corvette.

    </Douglas Reynholm>

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    It looks like the parallella board is slowly coming out

    For $60k I could get 9600 cores and 19.2 Teraflops and get to keep them for ever more.

    Or possibly get a decent car with decent chassis and a steering wheel that works and put a Corvette body on it and go fast and round the corners we have on roads over here. Though I could probably go half and half and still be up on both deals.

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: It looks like the parallella board is slowly coming out

      Errm, does this include salary for people to look after all that kit, doing it yourself will keep you too busy to work on what ever it is you wanted to run on it. Plus, are you factoring in electricity costs and the rental of a room to keep it all in, plus high speed access to a main internet gateway? No...thought not....

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: It looks like the parallella board is slowly coming out

        600 boards at 5w - 3kw so not a lot to run for a year. It would fit in a standard cabinet with room to spare - I'd call it a room heater at the moment. Me to maintain it. No need for a gateway.

  6. Gordan


    From the article: "The instances mandate the use of Linux, rather than Windows, as they only support hardware virtualization (HVM) machine images"

    This is erroneous. HVM can support any guest OS. It is the more performant PV mode that requires a PV aware kernel in the guest, which rules out Windows.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Error

      Windows is perfectly capable of running as a PV guest - for instance Xen supports this as well as Hyper-V....Amazon just need to port their API...

      1. Gordan

        Re: Error

        Windows has no PV kernel available. All it has available is PV I/O drivers. This is not the same as a fully PV kernel.

  7. Robert E A Harvey

    1936 Rolls-Royce 25/30 Gurney Nutting Sedanca de Ville. GHL3 For Sale

    500 quid change.

  8. Vociferous

    I can't help but wonder...

    ...what kind of server you'd be running that you'd a) need those specs b) still be able to make a profit, and c) not be better served by a swarm of smaller servers?

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: I can't help but wonder...

      Better question: what are you charging your customers for this to be a rational investment?

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: I can't help but wonder...

      Those are all good questions. Maybe there really is a viable market... To be honest though it just sounds like one of those types of things that inevitably pop up when there's a lot of VC money to be had from recently funded startups.

      There's an entire business model that's built around preying on the inexperienced business person. Unfortunately, it's a very effective thing to do. The majority of businesses fall down because they can't determine what actually has value and what doesn't. A company can have the greatest product ever and the best IT systems and the smoothest internal operations you've ever seen and most will still fail. Those things are only about 1/3 of running a business. The rest can't be taught, it has to be learned and there's only one way to learn it. (Incidentally that principal is why the same idiots always seem to be able to raise money. There's a lot of positive things to be said for someone who tried and failed, a lot more than you can say about someone who never tried).

      Anyway, products like this are very appealing to those who have raised money but don't yet know business: 'BIG POWER' is always an easy sell to a certain group. It's like office furniture. The inexperienced think somehow that fancy chairs and desks will make their business better and they spend their money on that instead of things with value.

      As an office furniture aside, a few years ago I decided to upgrade all the office decor but there was no fucking way I was paying what the knob from Herman Miller was asking. I waited and watched and an auction in Destin, Florida was selling the furniture from a failed startup. So I flew down, bought all 80 Aeron Chairs and 40 'task centers' (desks) and had them trucked back to DC for less than $7,000 for everything. Including the booze I drank, the plane, rental car and the hotel. The furniture was less than a year old, was fully optioned and some of the chairs were still in crates, all for less than the Herman Miller rep wanted for two chairs and a desk. I kept some of the chairs and desks and now I give them to small startups we've invested in. I'll be damned if they're going to spend my money on high end furniture. You don't deserve that until you've made your own money. When you get there you can decide if that's really where you see value. It's a lot different when it's your money.

      1. Random Coolzip

        Re: I can't help but wonder...

        Got my Aeron the same way -- failed startup, selling to the (rented) walls. Picked up the Aeron for $200, Wish I would have bought their server rack as well (pair of quad-CPU IBM POWER systems, IIRC), but they were running AIX (spit!) and I didn't want to spend an indeterminate amount of time trying to make them palatable.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good value

    ...compared to what my employer is paying for relatively small VM slices running on something much smaller than that. Ah the delights of the shared services model... Costs three times as much, three times as slow and takes three days to get anything changed on it as you don't have permission to touch your own servers. Still it keeps people in jobs yeh?

  10. Jon Green
    IT Angle

    Cost efficiency

    The [$59,743] cost is roughly equivalent to six reasonably well-specced Dell PowerEdge R910 servers with 64GB of RAM and two ten-core Xeon E7-4850 processors

    So that's £36,568 at today's exchange rate. And the "medium usage" reserved instance would work out to £17,059.

    By comparison, a PowerEdge server with this configuration would set you back £21,230.92. Six of them would be £127,385.52. That's the equivalent of 7.5 years' Amazon I2 "medium usage" RI use. And, as you point out, that's "[...]not including the electricity and other infrastructure bills" - which will be substantial.

    So, yes, it's about the cost of a Cadillac, if you were daft enough to use a year's worth on pay-on-demand - which you should be sacked for if you even considered as an option. It's slightly less than half of a Caddy if you bought the Reserved Instance. Compare that to four Caddies if you were to buy the hardware yourself. Plus a Mini or two to cover the electricity, housing and network costs.

    As far as I can tell, the article's subtitle should be, "Big numbers scare me." Because anyone who's deeply involved in corporate computing works with these kinds of numbers daily - and to them (and me) the Amazon proposition looks like good value, unless you're desperate for capex tax write-down...and a P45 (or pink slip, for our American readers) too.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Cost efficiency

      Have an upvote.

      Someone is doing the ROI analysis.

      That someone will find amazon's offer is good value.

      Because amazon is not offering vanity/consumer goods like corvettes here, they want to sell this to business types.

      No-one needs big boxes by Dell not yet written off gathering dust in the corner because the project came to an end but the servers and the sysop that comes with it didn't magically disappear. Well, I guess you can sell them on eBay or give them back to Dell for refurbishment, but still...

      Btw does anyone know what "1 CPU unit" in amazon speak is? I think it is less than a real CPU ... it may be the "hyperthreaded" peer only.

      1. Jon Green

        Re: Cost efficiency

        Why thank you, good sir, madam or gender-neutral entity! Have one yourself.

        The Compute Unit was defined early in the evolution of AWS. At the time, it had a meaning that was measured against specific hardware. Today's Compute Unit definition's a little more complex, but tweaked to ensure you basically get the same amount of compute power as you did originally. Probably the best definition that's actually useful is "the same as you'd get from an m1.small instance".

        What an m1.small is hosted upon these days has almost certainly changed, through several machine room refreshes, from what it was originally, but it's tuned so that you'll get almost exactly the same amount of compute power as you always did.

  11. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge


    There is an article on Anandtech about server memory that mentions server pricing



    An HP DL380 G8 with 24 x 32GB LRDIMMs, two E5-2680v2, two SATA disks and a 10 GbE NIC costs around $26000.

    Adding the extra SSDs to match the i2.8xlarge would cost less than $4000 so for less than half the cost of 1 years usage you can get a system with 3 times the memory and 40 virtual cores (20 physical + hyperthreading gives 40) instead of 32. The Amazon system is only suitable for short term peaks - if you need it for more than about 3 months then it will be cheaper to buy your own server.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why is cloud so expensive

    IMHO.. Looking at options for 2014/15 infrastructure I reckon for a full time usage profile over 4 years a cloud provision needs to be half the cost that the current companies are asking to compete with buying new servers and a sensibly priced colo. Occasional peak usage is still quite valid for me though.

  13. Mike Flugennock

    i'm in love with my car, gotta feel for my automobile

    Given the reveleations about Amazon getting cozy with the CIA, I'll go with the new 'Vette.

  14. LB45
    Paris Hilton

    Make mine the 2014 'Vette please.

    Topless of course.

    Oh and please show me the proof that cloud servers help you pick up the opposite sex?

    I know which one would bring me more pleasure and while it might be an Amazon (if I'm lucky) it won't be bare metal.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the vette

    the vette get's 'em wet - i mean cloud.. clouds make people wet

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