Microsoft fires up storage-optimised Azure instances

32 cores on a Xeon E5 V3 with up to 5.6TB of SSD, counted in gigabytes or gibibytes

Microsoft's decided Azure needs virtual machines optimised for storage, so has given us all the new L-series to play with.

They're all running Xeon E5 V3 CPUs and go from four cores, 32 GiB of RAM and 678 GB of local SSD up to 32 cores, 356 GiB RAM and “over 5.6 TB of local SSD.”

Microsoft says the new instance type is for “workloads that require low latency, such as NoSQL databases (e.g. Cassandra, MongoDB, Cloudera and Redis).” But The Register can't help but think they'd also make for pretty decent virtual arrays, not least because Microsoft recently told us it has ambitions to bring more virtual arrays to Azure, perhaps to make it a more attractive desitnation for hybrid cloud storage.

If those virtual arrays run on L-series instances, they won't lack speed or capacity.

Here's the full L-series range.

  CPU Cores Memory Temporary Disk (SSD) Max Network Bandwidth
Standard_L4s 4 32 GiB 678 GB Moderate
Standard_L8s 8 64 GiB 1388 GB High
Standard_L16s 16 128 GiB 2807 GB Very high
Standard_L32s 32 256 GiB 5630 GB Very high

A quick word on “GiB”, the contraction for “gibibyte”, the measure of 230 bytes. RAM and disk are typically sold as if a gigabyte is a thousand million bytes. Microsoft's therefore straddling the line between pedantry and very accurate promotions by using Gibibytes. That it then goes and applies what it admits is the “legacy” measure of gigabyte to describe disk capacity just muddies the waters!

The new L-series are available now, in Azure's East US 2, West US, Southeast Asia, Canada Central, Canada East and Australia East regions. The Register expects they'll pop up around the world over time, once the new servers and disks are shipped, racked and stacked. ®

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