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November 10, 2010

2010 Cloud Platform Innovators: Amazon Web Services

Nicole Hemsoth

For a more detailed description of how we chose our winners for our first annual HPC in the Cloud Editors’ Choice awards, please read this post, which provides some necessary background and links to the full list of winners and descriptions.

Picking winners in the cloud space is difficult enough given the shifting nature of the space, but to add additional complexity to choosing, one is too often tempted to go for the low-hanging fruit and select the obvious choice.

While we would love to bring to light some new, innovative company with profound platform offerings to serve HPC and large enterprise users, there just does not seem to be a rival for what Amazon is offering, particularly for researchers who require vast resources (and aren’t overly concerned with latency) and for businesses who need to offload some of their weight to free up internal resources.

Amazon made a big play to capture those with technical workloads this year when it announced its new instance type geared directly at the HPC user base. Cluster Compute Instances made major headlines and while it is still the subject of experimentation and refinement, the move showed us that Amazon was looking beyond its standard public cloud offering and setting its sights higher.

The company works with its notable users to produce case studies, which is important to users as they evaluate cloud solutions. More specifically, they have put forth a number of case studies from scientific users that show how their offering has been used by many with diverse technical computing needs.

Are there are other comparable platforms? Is Azure a contender? Of course and of course. But given the arrival of the company’s new Cluster Compute Instance type earlier this year and the positive user cases we’ve heard, this year’s pick in this space is not a difficult one.

In this photo, HPC in the Cloud publisher, Tom Tabor, presents the award to the Amazon Web Services team.