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AWS improves network efficiencies with new offerings

28 Nov 2018

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has released two new networking offerings - the low-latency Elastic Fabric Adapter, a network adapter for Amazon EC2 instances; and the AWS Global Accelerator, a fully managed service that uses AWS's global backbone and edge locations to improve the availability and performance of applications running in one or more AWS region.

Low-latency Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA)

Customers typically rely on fixed-size, on-premises HPC (high-performance compute) systems.

Because HPC systems are capital-intensive and expensive, companies tend to under-procure this capacity, resulting in long wait times that decrease productivity, limit experimentation, and delay critical project work.

Moreover, customers are often restricted to the available hardware capabilities and technologies until the next infrastructure refresh cycle - forcing developers to adapt their applications to the infrastructure instead of the other way around.

EFA, available in preview now, enhances the performance of inter-instance communications critical for scaling HPC applications, providing customers with the performance they expect from on-premises HPC clusters in the cloud, with the added benefits of AWS’s elasticity and scalability.

EFA is integrated with the Message Passing Interface (MPI), which allows HPC applications to scale to tens of thousands of CPU cores without any modification.

EFA is available on the new Amazon EC2 P3dn and C5n instances, and it will be enabled on additional Amazon EC2 instance types in 2019, giving customers added flexibility to choose the right compute configuration for their workloads on-demand, without any upfront planning.

AWS Global Accelerator

As customers scale for a larger and more geographically-diverse set of users, they have to operate with better availability and improved performance.

These customers deploy applications in multiple AWS regions for better performance, but this means they have to route users to the right healthy application endpoint.

Further, they must regularly scale up or down the application’s endpoints, each with their own IP address, in response to application failures, performance testing, or spikes in traffic.

As their applications scale, they also have to update every client that connects to the application (typically done via a Domain Name Service), which increases the time it takes for these clients to discover the new endpoints.

The Global Accelerator, now available, improves the availability and performance of applications and makes it simple to direct internet traffic from users to application endpoints running in multiple AWS regions.

It uses AWS’s vast, highly available and congestion-free global network backbone and edge locations to direct internet traffic from users to the application endpoints.

Clients are directed to the right application endpoint based on their geographic location, application health, and customer-configurable routing policies.

AWS Global Accelerator also allocates a set of static Anycast IP addresses that are unique per application and do not change, thus removing the need to update clients as the application scales.

Application endpoints are continuously monitored and AWS Global Accelerator only directs clients to healthy endpoints without any need to change client configuration.