DAIR How-To Blog Series — Flavours Explained

cloud buttonThe Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (known as DAIR) is a federally-funded program that is offering Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses free '€” or heavily subsidized '€” access to cloud computing resources. Interested users can now apply to join. The program is offered by CANARIE, Canada'€™s national advanced network organization, with support from Cybera and Compute Canada.

For those who are already using the DAIR system, or who are thinking about joining, this post marks the second of a DAIR How-To series, intended to guide users through using the system with helpful tips and advice.

Just like how Baskin Robbins offers 31 ice cream flavors, DAIR offers five different instance flavours. Unfortunately, instance flavors aren'€™t as edible as ice cream, but they'€™re still worth learning about.

When you purchase a desktop or server, you have to choose what attributes it will have '€” for example, how many CPU cores or how much RAM. When thinking about what kind of virtual machine you want to launch in the DAIR environment, you have to make similar decisions. In DAIR, virtual machine attributes, such as the number of CPU cores and the amount of RAM, are grouped into particular '€œflavours'€.

For example, the '€œm1.tiny'€ flavour offers 1 CPU core and 512 megabytes of RAM. The '€œm1.xlarge'€ flavour offers 8 CPU cores and 16 gigabytes of RAM. Other flavours exist in between.

Don'€™t let the '€œm1'€ part of the flavour throw you off '€“ it'€™s simply a code that was copied from Amazon to help provide familiarity and compatibility.

Flavours play a big role in cloud computing. With physical servers, you might only have access to one single large server '€” let'€™s say it had 16 total CPU cores. That single server could definitely get a lot of computing work done. But what if your computing workload would be better served across 8 servers with 2 CPU cores each? Rather than purchasing 8 new servers, you can simply launch 8 virtual machines. If your workload changes and you now need two large servers that each have 8 CPU cores, terminate your 8 original virtual machines and make 2 new ones!

To learn more or to apply to join the DAIR program, click here.