For cloud infrastructure, many consider Amazon Web Services (AWS) the one to beat, and Oracle says it does. Oracle claims innovations in the new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure help beat AWS with 1,214% better storage performance at 88% lower cost per I/O operation.

The claim comes as part of Oracle's announcement yesterday regarding general availability of its new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure compute options, based on its recently introduced X7 hardware. The new options are designed to help enterprise customers power through demanding workloads more quickly and more cost effectively. They are well suited for compute-intensive data centers, high-performance computing (HPC) applications, big data analytics and processing, and apps involving artificial intelligence.

The just-announced cloud infrastructure options include newly enhanced virtual machine (VM) and bare metal compute, as well as new bare metal graphical processing unit (GPU) instances.

Horsepower On-Demand

Oracle claims its Cloud Infrastructure is different that competitive offerings because it is "built to meet the unique requirements of enterprises, offering predictable performance for enterprise applications while bringing cost efficiency to HPC use cases."

Its claim of delivering 1,214% better storage performance than Amazon Web Services at a much lower cost per input/output operation is based on a comparison to AWS i3.16XL using the industry-standard CloudHarmony benchmark, a measure of storage performance across a range of workloads. Results are published on Oracle's blog.

Driving home the competitive advantage, Oracle VP of product management Kash Iftikhar said, "Only Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides the compute, storage, networking, and edge services necessary to deliver the end-to-end performance required of today's modern enterprise."

The new enhancements are intended to help customers leverage cloud computing and avoid the costs of additional on-premises hardware, providing, as Iftikhar calls it, "horsepower on-demand."

Under the Hood

All of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's new compute instances leverage Intel's latest Xeon processors based on the Skylake architecture. Oracle’s accelerated bare metal shapes are also powered by NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs, based on the Pascal architecture.

Providing 28 cores, dual 25Gb network interfaces for high-bandwidth requirements, and over 18 TFLOPS of single-precision performance per instance, these GPU instances accelerate computation-heavy use cases such as reservoir modeling, AI, and Deep Learning.

In the near future, Oracle also plans to release NVIDIA Volta architecture-powered instances with 8 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs interconnected via NVIDIA NVLINK. That configuration is expected to generate more than 125 TFLOPS of single-precision performance.

Getting another leg up over the competition, Oracle says it will offer these GPUs as both virtual machines and bare metal instances.

Oracle will also provide pre-configured images for fast deployment of use cases such as artificial intelligence. In addition, Oracle says customers can leverage TensorFlow or Caffe toolkits to accelerate their HPC and Deep Learning applications.

Other Tech Specs

Oracle's new virtual-machine standard shape is now available in 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 24 cores, while the bare metal standard shape offers 52 cores -- the highest Intel Skylake-based CPU count per instance of any cloud vendor.

Combined with its high-scale storage capacity, supporting up to 512 terabytes (TB) of non-volatile memory express (NVMe) solid state drive (SSD) remote block volumes, Oracle says these instances are ideal for traditional enterprise applications that require predictable storage performance.

The Dense I/O shapes are also available in both VM and bare metal instances and are optimal for HPC, database applications, and big data workloads. The bare metal Dense I/O shape is capable of over 3.9 million input/output operations per second (IOPS) for write operations. It also includes 51 TB of local NVMe SSD storage, offering 237 percent more capacity than competing solutions, according to the benchmark comparison.

On the management side, Oracle says it has simplified management of virtual machines by offering a Terraform provider for single-click deployment of single or multiple compute instances for clustering. A Terraform-based Kubernetes installer is also available for deployment of highly available, containerized applications.

Critical Alert

In other Oracle news today, the company issued a critical security alert, strongly urging customers to apply the updates provided as soon as possible.

The alert addresses vulnerabilities in parts of its PeopleSoft HR software. The key vulnerabilities actually reside within the Jolt component of Tuxedo, an application server used by PeopleSoft to handle non-Java applications.