Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and Web Hosting, published at the end of 2010, placed Amazon and its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) offering in the Visionary quadrant. It called Amazon a "thought leader" and "extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile and very responsive to the market." On the negative side, it cautioned that the company was the only vendor that did not offer dedicated non-virtualized servers. Until now.
Amazon has just added the Dedicated Instance concept to its Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), which makes it possible to run hardware dedicated to a single customer within a customer's VPC. Amazon says that this new capability enables users to take advantage of on-demand elastic provisioning, pay only for what they use, and have a private, isolated virtual network--all while ensuring that their Amazon EC2 compute instances will be isolated at the hardware level.
According to an Amazon blog, Dedicated Instance was introduced to address a minority of customers that have regulatory or other restrictions that require physical isolation. Each VPC and each EC2 instance running in a VPC now has an associated tenancy attribute. Customers will incur a $10/hour charge whenever they have at least one Dedicated Instance running in a Region, as well as a "modest" premium to the On-Demand pricing for the instance to represent the added value of being able to run it in a dedicated fashion.
As noted by Gartner, dedicated servers are not new to this market. StrataScale announced a hybrid hosting solution that integrates physical managed servers and virtualized cloud servers in March 2010. Another Amazon competitor, GoGrid, announced a dedicated private cloud solution at the start of 2011.
While Amazon may be among the last to the dedicated-server party, Robert Mahowald, research VP, SaaS and cloud services, IDC, doesn't think the absence of dedicated non-virtualized servers has hurt it in the least. "It's just not been the primary focus of its business model to first offer rentable dedicated non-virt servers, they don't yield scale, and leading with them would take Amazon back to the days of co-location--dedicated networking, servers, SANs, routing, etc. for each customer," he says