There were a few cool cloud items in the cloud world today, including some interesting new features from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Without further ado, here they are:
AWS now offers a virtual machine with over 4TB of memory (TechCrunch): This thing is a beast, and much larger than you can get from any other major cloud provider at the moment. It’s certified to run SAP HANA instances, which makes sense, but I wonder if demand for that alone is enough to warrant these large instances (AWS is apparently looking at images with up to 16TB of RAM). At any rate, this is a good reminder that while one part of the IT world is breaking everything down into microservices, another part is lifting-and-shifting onto virtual big iron.
Introducing Azure confidential computing (Microsoft): Microsoft is offering to secure, encrypt user data using its own novel “enclave” method, while it’s still in use inside SQL Server or Azure or Azure SQL Database. Cybersecurity is obviously a big catalyst for this work, but I can’t help but think that Microsoft’s recent privacy battles with the U.S. government have something to do with this, as well. You can’t be forced to turn over data that you can’t access.
Automated cloud provisioning on AWS using deep reinforcement learning (ArXiv): This is very much a research project, but it seems like there’s a business here if someone really wants to do it. Essentially, you train a system to recognize ideal price-performance ratios and other business metrics (e.g., “reduce spend as much as possible without increasing average user response time by more than 2%”), and then have it spin up instances as necessary while sticking to the goal. Curiously, the research was carried out by a group that includes someone from Microsoft and two employees at a satellite-imaging company.