Windows Azure vs Amazon EC2 (and Google Storage)

Here is a comparison of Windows Azure instances vs Amazon compute instances

Compute Instance Sizes:

Developers have the ability to choose the size of VMs to run their application based on the applications resource requirements. Windows Azure compute instances come in four unique sizes to enable complex applications and workloads.

Compute Instance Size CPU Memory Instance Storage I/O Performance
Small 1.6 GHz 1.75 GB 225 GB Moderate
Medium 2 x 1.6 GHz 3.5 GB 490 GB High
Large 4 x 1.6 GHz 7 GB 1,000 GB High
Extra large 8 x 1.6 GHz 14 GB 2,040 GB High

Standard Rates:

Windows Azure

  • Compute
    • Small instance (default): $0.12 per hour
    • Medium instance: $0.24 per hour
    • Large instance: $0.48 per hour
    • Extra large instance: $0.96 per hour
  • Storage
    • $0.15 per GB stored per month
    • $0.01 per 10,000 storage transactions
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)
    • $0.15 per GB for data transfers from European and North American locations*
    • $0.20 per GB for data transfers from other locations*
    • $0.01 per 10,000 transactions*

Source –

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/offers/popup/popup.aspx?lang=en&locale=en-US&offer=MS-AZR-0001P

and

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/windowsazure/

Amazon EC2 has more options though——————————-

http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pricing/

Standard On-Demand Instances Linux/UNIX Usage Windows Usage
Small (Default) $0.085 per hour $0.12 per hour
Large $0.34 per hour $0.48 per hour
Extra Large $0.68 per hour $0.96 per hour
Micro On-Demand Instances Linux/UNIX Usage Windows Usage
Micro $0.02 per hour $0.03 per hour
High-Memory On-Demand Instances
Extra Large $0.50 per hour $0.62 per hour
Double Extra Large $1.00 per hour $1.24 per hour
Quadruple Extra Large $2.00 per hour $2.48 per hour
High-CPU On-Demand Instances
Medium $0.17 per hour $0.29 per hour
Extra Large $0.68 per hour $1.16 per hour
Cluster Compute Instances
Quadruple Extra Large $1.60 per hour N/A*
* Windows is not currently available for Cluster Compute Instances.

http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/

Standard Instances

Instances of this family are well suited for most applications.

Small Instance – default*

1.7 GB memory
1 EC2 Compute Unit (1 virtual core with 1 EC2 Compute Unit)
160 GB instance storage (150 GB plus 10 GB root partition)
32-bit platform
I/O Performance: Moderate
API name: m1.small

Large Instance

7.5 GB memory
4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each)
850 GB instance storage (2×420 GB plus 10 GB root partition)
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
API name: m1.large

Extra Large Instance

15 GB memory
8 EC2 Compute Units (4 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each)
1,690 GB instance storage (4×420 GB plus 10 GB root partition)
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
API name: m1.xlarge

Micro Instances

Instances of this family provide a small amount of consistent CPU resources and allow you to burst CPUcapacity when additional cycles are available. They are well suited for lower throughput applications and web sites that consume significant compute cycles periodically.

Micro Instance

613 MB memory
Up to 2 EC2 Compute Units (for short periodic bursts)
EBS storage only
32-bit or 64-bit platform
I/O Performance: Low
API name: t1.micro

High-Memory Instances

Instances of this family offer large memory sizes for high throughput applications, including database and memory caching applications.

High-Memory Extra Large Instance

17.1 GB of memory
6.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
420 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: Moderate
API name: m2.xlarge

High-Memory Double Extra Large Instance

34.2 GB of memory
13 EC2 Compute Units (4 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
850 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
API name: m2.2xlarge

High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large Instance

68.4 GB of memory
26 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
1690 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
API name: m2.4xlarge

High-CPU Instances

Instances of this family have proportionally more CPU resources than memory (RAM) and are well suited for compute-intensive applications.

High-CPU Medium Instance

1.7 GB of memory
5 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2.5 EC2 Compute Units each)
350 GB of instance storage
32-bit platform
I/O Performance: Moderate
API name: c1.medium

High-CPU Extra Large Instance

7 GB of memory
20 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 2.5 EC2 Compute Units each)
1690 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
API name: c1.xlarge

Cluster Compute Instances

Instances of this family provide proportionally high CPU resources with increased network performance and are well suited for High Performance Compute (HPC) applications and other demanding network-bound applications. Learn more about use of this instance type for HPC applications.

Cluster Compute Quadruple Extra Large Instance

23 GB of memory
33.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 x Intel Xeon X5570, quad-core “Nehalem” architecture)
1690 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: Very High (10 Gigabit Ethernet)
API name: cc1.4xlarge

Also http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlazure/default.aspx

offers SQL Databases as a service with a free trial offer

If you are into .Net /SQL big time or too dependent on MS, Azure is a nice option to EC2 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/offers/popup/popup.aspx?lang=en&locale=en-US&offer=COMPARE_PUBLIC

Updated- I just got approved for Google Storage so am adding their info- though they are in Preview (and its free right now) 🙂

https://code.google.com/apis/storage/docs/overview.html

Functionality

Google Storage for Developers offers a rich set of features and capabilities:

Basic Operations

  • Store and access data from anywhere on the Internet.
  • Range-gets for large objects.
  • Manage metadata.

Security and Sharing

  • User authentication using secret keys or Google account.
  • Authenticated downloads from a web browser for Google account holders.
  • Secure access using SSL.
  • Easy, powerful sharing and collaboration via ACLs for individuals and groups.

Performance and scalability

  • Up to 100 gigabytes per object and 1,000 buckets per account during the preview.
  • Strong data consistency—read-after-write consistency for all upload and delete operations.
  • Namespace for your domain—only you can create bucket URIs containing your domain name.
  • Data replicated in multiple data centers across the U.S. and within the same data center.

Tools

  • Web-based storage manager.
  • GSUtil, an open source command line tool.
  • Compatible with many existing cloud storage tools and libraries.

Read the Getting Started Guide to learn more about the service.

Note: Google Storage for Developers does not support Google Apps accounts that use your company domain name at this time.

Back to top

Pricing

Google Storage for Developers pricing is based on usage.

  • Storage—$0.17/gigabyte/month
  • Network
    • Upload data to Google
      • $0.10/gigabyte
    • Download data from Google
      • $0.15/gigabyte for Americas and EMEA
      • $0.30/gigabyte for Asia-Pacific
  • Requests
    • PUT, POST, LIST—$0.01 per 1,000 requests
    • GET, HEAD—$0.01 per 10,000 requests

Amazon announces Micro Instances for cloud computing

From Amazon http://aws.amazon.com/ec2

Micro instances provide 613 MB of memory and support 32-bit and 64-bit platforms on both Linux and Windows. Micro instance pricing for On-Demand instances starts at $0.02 per hour for Linux and $0.03 per hour for Windows.

Customers have asked us for a lower priced instance type that could satisfy the needs of their less demanding applications. Micro instances are optimized for applications that require lower throughput, but which still may consume significant compute cycles periodically. Micro instances provide a small amount of consistent CPU resources, and also allow you to burst CPU capacity when additional cycles are available.

Micro instances are available immediately in all regions, and we invite you to go and try one out for yourself today! Learn more about Amazon EC2’s new Micro instances ataws.amazon.com/ec2.

Micro Instances

Instances of this family provide a small amount of consistent CPU resources and allow you to burst CPU capacity when additional cycles are available. They are well suited for lower throughput applications and web sites that consume significant compute cycles periodically.

  • Micro Instance 613 MB of memory, up to 2 ECUs (for short periodic bursts), EBS storage only, 32-bit or 64-bit platform

So dont buy that new CPU yet- use existing hardware in tandem with these micro instances (and internet) to compute- (but  only if your corporate IP administrator wasn’t trained in Windows only certifications 😉

Towards better analytical software

Here are some thoughts on using existing statistical software for better analytics and/or business intelligence (reporting)-

1) User Interface Design Matters- Most stats software have a legacy approach to user interface design. While the Graphical User Interfaces need to more business friendly and user friendly- example you can call a button T Test or You can call it Compare > Means of Samples (with a highlight called T Test). You can call a button Chi Square Test or Call it Compare> Counts Data. Also excessive reliance on drop down ignores the next generation advances in OS- namely touchscreen instead of mouse click and point.

Given the fact that base statistical procedures are the same across softwares, a more thoughtfully designed user interface (or revamped interface) can give softwares an edge over legacy designs.

2) Branding of Software Matters- One notable whine against SAS Institite products is a premier price. But really that software is actually inexpensive if you see other reporting software. What separates a Cognos from a Crystal Reports to a SAS BI is often branding (and user interface design). This plays a role in branding events – social media is often the least expensive branding and marketing channel. Same for WPS and Revolution Analytics.

3) Alliances matter- The alliances of parent companies are reflected in the sales of bundled software. For a complete solution , you need a database plus reporting plus analytical software. If you are not making all three of the above, you need to partner and cross sell. Technically this means that software (either DB, or Reporting or Analytics) needs to talk to as many different kinds of other softwares and formats. This is why ODBC in R is important, and alliances for small companies like Revolution Analytics, WPS and Netezza are just as important as bigger companies like IBM SPSS, SAS Institute or SAP. Also tie-ins with Hadoop (like R and Netezza appliance)  or  Teradata and SAS help create better usage.

4) Cloud Computing Interfaces could be the edge- Maybe cloud computing is all hot air. Prudent business planing demands that any software maker in analytics or business intelligence have an extremely easy to load interface ( whether it is a dedicated on demand website) or an Amazon EC2 image. Easier interfaces win and with the cloud still in early stages can help create an early lead. For R software makers this is critical since R is bad in PC usage for larger sets of data in comparison to counterparts. On the cloud that disadvantage vanishes. An easy to understand cloud interface framework is here ( its 2 years old but still should be okay) http://knol.google.com/k/data-mining-through-cloud-computing#

5) Platforms matter- Softwares should either natively embrace all possible platforms or bundle in middle ware themselves.

Here is a case study SAS stopped supporting Apple OS after Base SAS 7. Today Apple OS is strong  ( 3.47 million Macs during the most recent quarter ) and the only way to use SAS on a Mac is to do either

http://goo.gl/QAs2

or do a install of Ubuntu on the Mac ( https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook ) and do this

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1494027

Why does this matter? Well SAS is free to academics and students  from this year, but Mac is a preferred computer there. Well WPS can be run straight away on the Mac (though they are curiously not been able to provide academics or discounted student copies 😉 ) as per

http://goo.gl/aVKu

Does this give a disadvantage based on platform. Yes. However JMP continues to be supported on Mac. This is also noteworthy given the upcoming Chromium OS by Google, Windows Azure platform for cloud computing.

What is Cloud Computing

Here is nice video on What is Cloud Computing . It was created by  Joyent http://joyent.com/. It basically shows you the perspectives on how cloud computing is without getting into jargon, technical gab or semantics.

Enjoy!

 

 

It is also available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PNuQHUiV3Q