15 December 2020

Cheaper, faster disks in AWS – using GP3 volumes to boost SQL Server performance

By Christian Bolton

Amazon Web Services, AWS, GP3 volume a new EBS volume ty

GP3 volumes  – a new EBS volume type

This early Christmas gift from AWS was announced at AWS re:Invent 2020 earlier this month and needs to be on your radar – GP3 is a new EBS volume type that’s faster, more flexible AND 20% cheaper than GP2.

All database platforms are sensitive to storage performance and SQL Server is no different so this is a great quick win for EC2 deployments.

GP2 volumes were introduced in 2014 bringing SSD performance benefits at a price suitable for general purpose workloads. Performance scales with the size of the volume at 3 IOPS per GB with a minimum of 100 IOPS and maximum throughput between 128MB and 250MB. To increase performance you need to increase the size of the volume.

With GP3 volumes the performance baseline starts at 3000 IOPS and 125MB/s and is de-coupled from the size of the volume enabling you to scale performance independently of volume size.

With GP2 bigger volumes get better performance

Amazon Web Services GP2 bigger volumes get better performance

With GP3 performance is independent of volume size

Amazon Web Services, AWS GP3 performance is independent of volume size

Migrating to GP3 is a straightforward and online operation achieved by simply modifying the volume although it will take some time to migrate large volumes.

Migrating to GP3 is an online operation

Amazon Web Services AWS GP3 is supported for the OS volumes

GP3 is supported for the OS volumes as well as data volumes but best of all it’s cheaper than GP2!

GP3 volumes are cheaper than GP2

AWS GP3 volumes are cheaper than GP2

GP3 is available in all AWS Regions and I can’t see any reason not to migrate all your GP2 volumes. It may even give you pause to consider whether you need those expensive io1/io2 volumes for SQL Server anymore.

2 thoughts on “Cheaper, faster disks in AWS – using GP3 volumes to boost SQL Server performance”

    1. Avatar for Christian Bolton
      Christian Bolton

      Hi Dmytro, it’s really challenging to create generic benchmarks across both AWS and Azure because each customer scenario is different, they both have different levers to pull for optimisation, and their feature set changes so frequently. It’s easy to tweak a design to favour either platform to be honest so it really comes down to comparing a specific customer requirement.

      Choosing AWS or Azure tends to be a strategic decision which is about more than just cost because that’s a moving target.

      Thanks for commenting, I appreciate the question!

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