AWS hits back at Microsoft Azure with 2TB RAM X1 instance primed for SAP HANA

Amazon and Microsoft are vying over who's got the biggest RAM and best instance to run big-data applications in the cloud.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

AWS has provided an idea of what running X1 instances could cost.

Image: AWS

Microsoft's Azure isn't the only cloud platform opening its arms to SAP's in-memory database HANA while SAP's Sapphire Now user conference takes place this week in Orlando.

Amazon Web Services today announced the new super-sized 2TB RAM X1 instance on its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) infrastructure. X1 is designed to support enterprise customers running SAP's in-memory database HANA.

AWS boasts that its new X1 instances offer more memory than any rival SAP-certified cloud instance that is "available today", in an apparent dig at Azure's new support for HANA and its proposed 3TB RAM large instance on Azure.

AWS's 2TB RAM X1 instances are powered by four 2.3GHz Intel Xeon E7 8880 v3 Haswell processors, and offer 10Gbps dedicated bandwidth to Amazon's Elastic Block Store.

AWS says the X1 instances are certified for SAP S/4HANA, SAP Business Suite on HANA, and SAP Business Warehouse on HANA.

Microsoft yesterday outlined four new large instances for running HANA in Azure, ranging from a 768GB RAM instance to its largest 3TB RAM instance, which runs on four Intel Xeon E7-8890 v3 processors, and offers 12TB of storage.

Microsoft notes that Azure customers will need to contact Microsoft or SAP account managers for more information.

AWS said X1 instances are available today by customer request in the US East North Virginia, US West Oregon, EU Ireland, EU Germany, Asia Pacific Tokyo, Asia Pacific Sydney, and Asia Pacific Singapore regions. More regions will be added in coming months.

Running an X1 instance would cost $3.97 an hour for customers that commit to a three-year partial upfront reserved instance. AWS hasn't published on-demand pricing, but further technical details can be found via AWS's FAQ.

AWS yesterday boasted several major clients that run SAP on AWS, including GE Oil & Gas, Kellogg's, Brooks Brothers, Ferrara Candy Company, GPT Group, Hoya Corporation, Lionsgate, Macmillan Publishers India, RWE Czech Republic, Zappos.com, and Bart & Associates.

US fashion retailer Brooks Brothers today said in a statement supporting AWS's announcement that it is looking to trial the X1 instances for HANA.

"With the addition of X1 instances with 2TB of memory, we'll be able to rapidly deploy new SAP solutions like S/4HANA, Supply Chain Management, as well as Fashion Management powered by HANA in production on AWS," Brooks Brothers executive vice president and CIO Sahal Laher said.

"We're looking forward to realizing the same benefits with X1 that we've experienced thus far with the AWS Cloud, which has allowed us to put greater focus on areas of our business that drive revenue," Laher added.

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