Microsoft Azure Launches Monster Cloud Instances

Provider also adds first Docker-integrated Ubuntu image on Azure Marketplace

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

January 8, 2015

2 Min Read
Microsoft Azure Launches Monster Cloud Instances
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft Azure has launched its most powerful cloud instances to date. The new G-series instances go up to 32 cores, 448 GiB of RAM, and 6,596 GB of local SSD storage. (GB is 10003 and GiB is 10243)

The company claims they are the mightiest instances in the public cloud today. Amazon Web Services, Azure’s biggest public cloud competitor and market leader, provides 244 GiB of memory for its highest-memory instance and 6,400 GB of SSD storage for its highest-SSD-capacity instance. AWS also offers cloud VMs with 32 CPU cores.

Google Compute Engine, the other big contender, does not have 32-core instances. The highest-memory instance available on GCE is 104 GB. Google does not include instance-tied storage capacity in the individual instance parameters.

The Azure announcement comes before the expected roll-out of new high-octane cloud instances by AWS. Intel customized its Xeon E5 chips specifically for Amazon to support the upcoming C4 instances, which will go up to 36 virtual CPU cores and 60 GB of RAM.

Intel designs custom CPUs for lots of big high tech firms. The ones the company has mentioned publicly, besides AWS, are Facebook eBay, and Oracle. But there more than 30 custom CPU orders for different clients in the chipmaker’s pipeline in 2014, Diane Bryant, general manager of Intel’s data center group, said last year.

The latest Azure cloud instances are powered by chips from the Xeon E5 v3 family. The company did not say whether they were custom or off-the-shelf.

In a blog post, Drew McDaniel, Azure principal program manager, wrote that the new instances were designed for mission critical workloads. “This powerful VM size easily handles deployments of mission critical applications such as large relational database servers (SQL Server, MySQL etc.,) and large NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cloudera, Cassandra etc.),” he wrote.

Docker Comes to Azure Marketplace

Microsoft also rolled out availability of the first Ubuntu image fully integrated with Docker on the Azure Marketplace. Docker is a popular application container technology.

Microsoft announced it would support Docker on Azure in 2013. The company deepened its partnership with the San Francisco-based startup last year, announcing that the next release of Windows Server would support Docker natively and rolling out a Docker command line interface for Windows.

The latest addition in Azure means a user can select a Docker on Ubuntu Server image and provision a VM with the latest Docker engine pre-installed, running on Azure.

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