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October 4, 2016

AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

Tiffany Trader


Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon’s G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards.

Nvidia’s Kepler-generation Telsa K80 was launched nearly two years ago and we’ve since seen the debut of the Maxwell and Pascal architectures, yet the K80 is still going strong, owing to its ability to simultaneously serve multiple application areas.

It’s certainly a popular GPU for cloud providers. Microsoft Azure’s K80-based N-Series virtual machines were delayed by some months, but have now been in preview mode since early August. IBM Softlayer and Cirrascale both offer it and the regional Alibaba Cloud in China is using similar Telsa K40 parts.

Clouds are general purpose by nature. To mine efficiencies of scale, cloud providers select their offerings for mass appeal. To that end, the Telsa K80 GPU offers a nice mix of single and double precision floating point and sufficient memory and memory bandwidth to benefit a range of workloads, from modeling and simulation, to CFD, to deep learning and data and video processing.

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