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Engine Works Blog

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-to's.
Asteroid

Have you heard about cloud computing yet? Mostly the term is referring to things like Google Docs that you can use online potentially replacing Office. Amazon has taken it to the next level. You can rent servers in their datacenter by the hour. If you need 10 servers for the next week, you can have them up and running in a few minutes without having to think about hardware. When you are done in a week, you shut them down and stop paying.

 

So anyway, I had to answer the question: how well do their servers handle Alteryx? The answer is pretty well - it could be better, but it sure would work in a pinch. I ran a few Alteryx benchmarks on their server compared to my workstation.

 

The EC2 spec I used:

  • Windows Server 2003 RC2 (64bit)
  • Standard Instances/Large
    • 7.5 GB of memory
    • 4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each)
    • 850 GB of instance storage
    • 64-bit platform

My workstation:

  • Vista X64
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450
  • 8GB memory
  • 1TB drive array set up as RADI 0+1

As you can see, the specs aren't quite the same, but close enough for a useful comparison. I ran 2 benchmarks - a CPU intensive one and a disk intensive one.

  Amazon EC2 Local Desktop
CPU Benchmark 14.9 Seconds 8.2
Disk Benchmark 42.10 seconds 38.2

 

The EC2 CPU is obviously a bunch slower that a high end desktop, but if you need 10 more, you can just put a few more quarters in the slot and have them up and running within the hour. The good news is that the disk performance of the EC2 is pretty good and that is primarily what Alteryx needs most. The drive setup is also pretty good because it comes set up with 2 drives which seem to be on separate hardware - perfect for separating data & temp files. If you really need a server, buying one will be faster and cheaper, but sometimes you only need it part time.

 

Anyway, I am very intrigued by EC2 and SRC customers might be hearing more about it from me in the future.

 

Ned.

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