​AWS makes Arm processors available in the cloud with new Graviton processor

AWS dropped a handful of product announcements ahead of re:Invent 2018, including its own processor for scale-out workloads.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

During Monday Night Live, Amazon Web Services (AWS) VP of global infrastructure Peter DeSantis made a slew of announcements ahead of the cloud giant's annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

But the announcement that received the loudest reception from the audience was the AWS Graviton processor.

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When AWS acquired Annapurna Labs in 2015, the company started to think about building a custom CPU that could scale on the cloud, DeSantis said.

The result is EC2 A1, built around Arm cores and touted as a great fit for scale-out workloads where the load can be shared across a group of smaller instances.

It's the first time Arm processors have been made available in the cloud.

The A1 instances are available now in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland) regions in on-demand, reserved instances, spot, dedicated instances, and dedicated host form, and is supported by Amazon Linux 2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu, with AWS noting additional operating system support is on the way.

After launching C5 instances last year, and the C5d instances earlier this year with the addition of local NVMe storage, AWS on Monday added the C5n instance that boasts up to 100 Gbps of network bandwidth.

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AWS also added services to its Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio, including announcing in preview an industrial-grade solution for data gathering and fault detection.

AWS unveiled the AWS Global Accelerator to boost performance of global workloads and the AWS Transit Gateway to simplify network architecture.

It also announced SageMaker Neo and made it open source.

DeSantis also used Monday Night Live to launch Firecracker -- lightweight virtualisation for serverless computing.

Firecracker, also open source, is a new virtualisation technology -- the underlying technology that powers AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate -- that makes use of Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) that allows for the launch of lightweight micro-virtual machines (microVMs) in non-virtualised environments.

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DeSantis also revealed the upcoming P3dn Instances -- p3dn.24xlarge instances -- will feature 100 Gbps network bandwidth, local NVMe storage, and eight of the latest Nvidia Tesla v100 GPUs, which AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr said gives a total of 256GB of GPU memory.

"With 2x the GPU memory and 1.5x as many vCPUs as p3.16xlarge instances, these instances will allow you to explore bigger and more complex deep learning algorithms, render 3D images, transcode video in real time, model financial risks, and much more," Barr wrote in a blog following the announcement.

AWS also revealed ahead of re:Invent it plans on rolling out a new cloud service designed to help developers build, test, and deploy intelligent robotics applications.

Disclosure: Asha Barbaschow travelled to AWS re:Invent as a guest of AWS

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