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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon EC2 U7i Instances: 896 vCPUs and up to 32 TiB of Memory for High Memory Workloads

Amazon EC2 U7i Instances: 896 vCPUs and up to 32 TiB of Memory for High Memory Workloads

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AWS recently announced the general availability of high-memory U7i instances. Simplifying the vertical scaling of large workloads, these new U7i instances are designed to support large, in-memory databases such as SAP HANA, Oracle, and SQL Server.

The new instances, introduced in preview at re:Invent, run custom fourth-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (Sapphire Rapids) and support up to 896 vCPUs, 32TiB of Memory, 200 Gbps of network, and 100 Gbps of Storage (EBS). Jeff Barr, vice president and chief evangelist at AWS, explains:

This increased bandwidth allows you to transfer 30 TiB of data from EBS into memory in an hour or less, making data loads and cache refreshes faster than ever before. The instances also support ENA Express with 25 Gbps of bandwidth per flow, and provide an 85% improvement in P99.9 latency between instances.

Compared to the previous generation of EC2 High Memory instances, the U7i instances have twice as many vCPUs, with the cloud provider claiming they can deliver more than 135% compute performance and up to 45% better price performance versus existing instances. The announcement focuses on the unique specifications of these instances, with Barr stating that the new instances offer the highest memory and compute power of any SAP-certified virtual instance from a leading cloud provider and highlighting the "truly stupendous amount of memory". Scott Blackwell, lead compute and virtualization platform architect at Virginia Commonwealth University, comments:

To calculate how much this will cost you per month, you’ll need to use scientific notation.

On a Reddit thread, many users discuss the hardware implementation instead, while James Saull, founder at DotElastic, adds:

I remember when CC2.8XLs were the best on offer. While they were SAPs rated people were reluctant to use the cloud because they were still on the lower end (...) It was a real stretch to cover even relatively modest-sized "enterprise" workloads.

The U7i instances are available in four sizes, supporting 12TiB, 16TiB, 24TiB, and 32TiB memory, all with 896 vCPUs. On-demand prices start at 152.88 USD per hour for 12TiB of memory USD and go up to 407.68 USD per hour for 32TiB. There are apparently plans for even larger sizes with more vCPU, with Barr noting:

We are also working on offering even larger instance later this year with increased compute to meet our customer needs.

The new U7i instances are currently available in only four AWS regions (Northern Virginia, Oregon, Seoul, and Sydney) and are SAP-certified to run Business Suite on HANA, Business Suite S/4HANA, Business Warehouse on HANA (BW), and SAP BW/4HANA.

AWS is not the only cloud provider targeting SAP workloads on the cloud, with different certifications for SAP HANA available on Google Cloud. Microsoft used to provide SAP HANA on Azure to run and deploy SAP HANA on bare-metal servers with up to 480 Intel CPU cores and up to 24 TB of memory, but the option is now in sunset mode and does not accept new customers.

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