With its new servers, OVHCloud challenges Amazon in high performance computing

AI, HPC, in-memory databases… The French group has announced the release of two new ranges of bare metal instances for the end of the year, designed to meet the most demanding use cases.

OVHCloud intends to move up a gear in intensive computing. The challenge? To meet the most demanding processing needs: high performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), but also hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). To facilitate these use cases, Octave Klaba’s group plans to market two new ranges of physical servers (or bare metal) by the end of the year. Remember that OVHCloud designs and assembles its own machines. Called Scale, the first is designed for databases running in memory. In short, it targets big data in real time. The second, called Hight-Grade, is designed for mission-critical applications, distributed computing and, more generally, ultra-fast transactions. With these offerings, OVHCloud intends to demonstrate its innovative strength, particularly in the face of the leader Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The most powerful compute server in the pipeline is the Scale series. Its RAM amounts to no less than 1.5 Tb. In this respect, OVHCloud far surpasses the most powerful bare metal instance of AWS(EC2 i3en.metal) which is limited to 768 Gb, or more precisely 824 Gb. On the flash storage side (NVMe SSDs), AWS’ virtual machine, which is priced at $10.848 per hour, offers 8 x 7,500 GB of capacity where Scale configurations, on the other hand, don’t exceed 2 x 1,920 GB. To see OVHCloud surpass the American on this ground, it is enough to turn to its Hight-Grade flavors which rise to 3 840 Gb x 24 from their standard version

Unlike Amazon’s bare metal instances (which, like their EC2 counterparts, are equipped with the AWS Nitro system), OVHCloud’s Scale and Hight-Grade servers are obviously not devoid of a virtualization layer that could strain the machine’s performance.

48 CPUs vs 96 vCPUs

Another difference with AWS’ bare metal offering is that customers can choose between Intel or AMD processors. On the Intel side, the Dual Xeon Gold model is offered with up to 48 cores and a maximum speed of 4.10 GHz. On the AMD side, OVHCloud has chosen the Dual Epyc with configurations of up to 64 cores and speeds of 3.30 to 3.35 GHz. In total, the Roubaix-based company manages to increase multitasking to 96 threads. For its part, i3en.metal is certainly backed by 96 cores, but they are still virtual. Amazon’s vCPUs are powered by first or second generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors. All clocked at 3.1 GHz.

Even if the OVHCloud servers are not virtualized, they will still be activated by customers in one click, then available in just 2 minutes.

Storage is also part of the package

The Hight-Grade range does not stop there. In addition to its compute servers, two categories of machines optimized for storage have been added. The first targets software-defined storage needs, with SSD architectures combining up to two 480 Gb Sata disks and 24 15.36 Tb NVMe disks. OVHCloud intends to market pre-configured clusters equipped with Nutanix’s hyper-converged solution in parallel with these machines. The second type of Hight-Grade storage system in preparation: flavors designed for large capacities. In their most powerful configuration, they have more than 100 HDDs of 14 Tb each (see picture below). These solutions are difficult to compare with AWS storage services (Amazon S3, Amazon EBS) whose architectures are very different.

The Scale and Hight-Grade servers will benefit from OVHCloud’s next-generation network infrastructure deployed in its data centers since last June. Each machine will be equipped with four network interfaces with a capacity of 25 Gb each.

Like AWS’ high-end instances, the i3en.metal is designed to handle bandwidth of up to 100 Gbps via the US cloud’s Elastic Network Adapter.

Avec ses nouveaux serveurs, OVHCloud défie Amazon dans le calcul intensif

We do not yet know the prices of the Scale and Hight-Grade ranges. They will be unveiled at the time of their release scheduled, remember, by the end of the year. Will they be lower than Amazon’s? The only certainty is that OVHCloud usually has lower prices than AWS, but also than Microsoft and Google clouds.

It remains to be seen what announcements AWS will make at its annual event from November 30 to December 18, 2020. At this conference, Amazon could indeed be tempted to unveil new, more robust bare metal instances.

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