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Massive public cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced a new way for companies to quickly pull up and analyze large amounts of data.

AWS customers can now pay for “Dense Compute” servers packed with fast solid-state drives, lots of RAM to store data temporarily in memory, and high-performance chips when they use the public cloud’s Redshift data-warehouse service before running business-intelligence software to query the data. Amazon announced the new option in a blog post last night.

Two “Dense Compute” server options are available. The large one contains 160GB of storage, two chip cores, and 15GB RAM, while the Eight Extra Large carries 2.56TB of storage, 32 cores, and 244GB of RAM. It costs 25 cents to use a large server sitting in one of Amazon’s data centers in Northern Virginia for an hour. That’s lower than what customers would pay for Amazon’s “Dense Storage” servers that use hard disks instead of faster solid-state disks.

The new tiers of service for Redshift gives Amazon customers the ability to run data-analysis jobs more quickly. That’s becoming more important as more companies seek to understand their operations in real time.


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The upgrade comes almost a year after Amazon made the service available to all last February. It was first announced in November 2012. A whole bunch of business-intelligence and data-integration companies have announced support for Redshift, which makes the tool more attractive.

Indeed, companies are using Redshift, having set up “tens of thousands of development, test, and production data warehouses,” according to Amazon’s press release on Redshift’s new servers:

Today, customers such as Fender, Financial Times, MediaMath, Nasdaq OMX, Nokia, and Pinterest are using Amazon Redshift for a variety of analytic use cases, including enterprise data warehousing, customer lifetime value, clickstream, traffic, user engagement, and online advertising.

While it is a cloud service, Redshift does compete with onsite data warehousing hardware companies like Teradata.

AWS’ enhancements to Redshift amount to just another latest attempt to bolster the entire public cloud. In recent months, it has also resorted to price drops and the construction of more infrastructure around the globe, among other strategies.

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