THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR AWS CLOUD EC2 FAMILIES

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1 THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR AWS CLOUD EC2 FAMILIES Introduction Amazon Web Services (AWS), which was officially launched in 2006, offers you varying cloud services that are not only cost effective, but also scalable and available on-demand. AWS portfolio constitutes lots of different services such as computing, data loading, creating applications, networking, management, workflows, databases, storage, and much more. Every year, AWS increases their portfolio of services with innovative cloud service offerings. The core focus of AWS is that an enterprise application can be developed, tested, processed, deployed and executed on the cloud without buying any physical, onpremises infrastructure. This helps in reducing your capital expenditure while providing you with better performance on a secure infrastructure, on-demand scalability, and reliance on an operational expenditure model. Today, AWS is spread across 11 geographical regions, 9 of which are public and available to registered users. Each region has multiple Edge Locations that provide high availability as well as support to achieve disaster recovery for applications and data. AWS Regions (Orange) and AWS Edge Locations (Blue) (Source: Amazon Web Services) cloudyn.com/blog

2 Though AWS portfolio has over 30 products, its core services, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) are the most popular. These services were introduced to provide online compute power and data storage. Over time, these services have improved by leaps and bounds and continue to be of the most important services in AWS portfolio. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) EC2 is a core service on Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform where users can start virtual servers with almost any server operating system, then develop and deploy their applications on them. Below are just a few of EC2 s many features: 1. Agile models due to the large number of instance sizes, multiple OS and architectures (32/64 bit), as well as one of the most cost effective solutions due to its pay-as-you-go pricing. 2. The option to reduce costs with varying price models, such as on-demand, reserved or spot instances. 3. EC2 provides multiple, inherent security features, such as private key pairs, security groups, and subnetting with VPC. 4. An Amazon Machine Image (AMI), which is bundled software, allows you to re-launch instances in the future, and helps with High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) schemes. 5. A variety of instance families that offer end users the flexibility to choose the right instance sizes according to their applications needs. In addition, EC2 always allows you to modify your instance family in order to achieve vertical scaling (Increase/Decrease CPU-Memory). ECU vs vcpu AWS EC2 creates virtual machines on commodity hardware and it is important that each same-sized EC2 instance has a similar performance. AWS takes measures to ensure that each instance has a consistent and predictable amount of CPU capacity. Understanding that developers and IT infrastructure like to benchmark performance or compare CPU capacity between different instance types, AWS has defined an 2

3 Amazon EC2 Compute Units (ECU), which exhibit the amount of CPU that is allocated to a particular instance. In early 2014, AWS changed how CPU capacity was measured, from ECU to vcpu. Generally, a virtual CPU (vcpu) acts as a virtual processor; a physical central processing unit (CPU) that is assigned to a virtual machine (VM). For AWS, each vcpu is a hyperthread of an Intel Xeon core for M3, C3, R3, HS1, G2, and I2. EC2 AMIs Users can launch instances from Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). AMIs have Operating Systems (OS) as well as some custom bundled software so that when an instance is launched, it will have the same OS, application and data as its AMI. Additionally, users can launch multiple instances from a single AMI. Generally, there are two types of AMIs based on their root device: EBS-Backed and Instance Store-Backed. Each of these AMIs uses one of two types of virtualization: Para Virtual (PV) or Hardware Virtual Machine (HVM). PV guests can run on host hardware that does not have explicit support for virtualization and they cannot take advantage of special hardware extensions, such as enhanced networking or GPU processing. All current generation EC2 instance types support HVM AMIs. Some previous generation instance types, such as T1, C1, M1, and M2 do not support Linux HVM AMIs. On the other end of the spectrum, some current generation instance types, such as T2, I2, R3, G2, CR1, and CC2 do not support PV AMIs. The main difference between PV and HVM AMIs is the way in which they boot and whether they can take advantage of special hardware extensions (CPU, network, and storage) for better performance. For the best performance, AWS recommends using current generation instance types and HVM AMIs when launching new instances. We have provided more details about current and previous generation instance types in the section below. 3

4 Two Generations of EC2 Instances Amazon introduced small EC2 instances in They then added different types of instances according to application loads, memory and a number of other factors. Now, each instance type is optimized according to its respective application s requirements. Each instance type has a different CPU, memory, storage and networking capacity. The matrix below illustrates various types of instances and their instance families. As AWS improves so does EC2. Each instance type has its own generation because Amazon constantly improves the performance-oriented infrastructure in order to offer new, better performing instance families. Currently, AWS has two generations of EC2 instance families: previous and current. 1st Generation EC2 AWS cloud customers still use Previous Generation Instance types because they have optimized their applications against this instance group or they just may not have moved to Current Generation Instances. Below is the previous generation family: Instance Family Previous Generation Instance Types General purpose m1.small m1.medium m1.large m1.xlarge Compute optimized c1.medium c1.xlarge cc2.8xlarge Memory optimized m2.xlarge m2.2xlarge m2.4xlarge cr1.8xlarge Storage optimized hi1.4xlarge GPU instances cg1.4xlarge Micro instances t1.micro 4

5 2nd Generation EC2 As of late 2012, AWS added a few more instance types that were similar to the earlier standard instances but with better firmware and higher CPU power. AWS calls these the second or current generation family: Instance Family Current Generation Instance Types General purpose Compute optimized t2.micro t2.small t2.medium m3.medium m3.large m3.xlarge m3.2xlarge c3.large c3.xlarge c3.2xlarge c3.4xlarge c3.8xlarge Memory optimized Storage optimized GPU instances Dense storage instances r3.large r3.xlarge r3.2xlarge r3.4xlarge r3.8xlarge i2.xlarge i2.2xlarge i2.4xlarge i2.8xlarge hs1.8xlarge g2.2xlarge d2.xlarge d2.2xlarge d2.4xlarge d2.8xlarge 5

6 Eight Families of EC2 Instances Some applications need higher memory, some require higher CPU, and some need a balance between both. Keeping this in mind, AWS has distributed their instance families across eight broad categories based on instance configuration. We have listed all eight families with their instance types, configuration as well usage below. General Purpose Instances There are two types of instances in this family: Fixed Performance (e.g. M3, C3, R3) and Burstable Performance (e.g. T2). T2 / Burstable Performance Instances Model vcpu CPU credits / hour Mem (GiB) Storage (GB) t2.micro EBS only t2.small EBS only t2.medium EBS only t2.large EBS only T2 instances are burstable performance instances and generally have a baseline level of CPU performance. The T2 is different than traditional instances because they do not provide fixed performance, but rather generate the credit for the underutilized CPU and use this credit to burst occasionally. When you talk about CPU credit it is equivalent to the performance of a full CPU core for one minute. The T2 instance, when launched, will have a fixed set of CPU credits and whenever CPU is underutilized, this will result in a CPU credit which is valid for 24 hours. For example, say you launched a T2 instance and your application is consuming full CPU only during the hours of 9 AM to 6 PM and from 6 PM to next day at 9 AM it is almost not utilized. In this case, AWS will create a CPU credit for unutilized hours that can be applied to burst the performance from 9 AM to 6 PM. 6

7 To explain the above case: if you launched a t2.medium instance and that instance is just consuming 10% of CPU from 6 PM to 9 AM, it will be consuming 6 CPU credits (10% of 60 minutes), but at the same time, AWS will keep adding 24 CPU credits/hour so it will get 18 additional credits/hour. This credit can be used during the higher usage period from 9 AM to 6 PM. It is important to note the following:. This family offers three sizes and is one of the most cost effective EC2 instance options. This family is only supported by Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). It solely supports HVM AMIs. The T2 family also offers micro instances, which are part of AWS free usage tier. If you stop the instance all the credit will be lost. If your instance has consumed all of its CPU credit then it will perform at the baseline CPU performance, depending on the instance size. When comparing the T2 family with the T1 Previous Generation Instance Types, it is clear that the current generation has far outweighed the past. In terms of processors and storage, the previous generation didn t have the latest version of Intel Xeon processors and instance-storage was only available for M1 instance types. Additionally, the current family offers better CPU and memory for less than what the previous generation charged. Recommendation: This family is useful for Web Servers, non-production environments, and small databases that occasionally require a CPU burst. 7

8 M3 Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) m3.medium x 4 m3.large x 32 m3.xlarge x 40 m3.2xlarge x 80 This family provides balanced memory and CPU usage. It has different capacities for CPU, memory and solid state drives (SSDs) according to the instance size that is chosen. These instances use SSDs instead of traditional HDDs, so they offer better I/O performance. M3 instances are a good-fit for memory-intensive applications. There is no comparison between previous generation M1 instance types and current generation M3 instance types. The previous generation lacked the latest version of Intel Xeon processors as well as SSD storage. I/O performance has also been enhanced in the current generation. Recommendation: M3 instances are better for small and medium-sized databases that run backend servers, such as SAP. They can also be used for small and medium caching servers and for data processing applications that require additional memory. 8

9 M4 Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) m4.large 2 8 m4.xlarge 4 16 m4.2xlarge 8 32 m4.4xlarge m4.10xlarge throughput: 450Mbps throughput: 750Mbps throughput: 1000Mbps throughput: 2000Mbps throughput: 4000Mbps The M4 family, released in June 2015 is the newer generation of general purpose compute instances. It provides balanced memory and CPU usage and has different capacities for CPU, memory and provisioned EBS throughput according to the instance size that is chosen. It boasts the Intel Xeon v3 processor (Haswell) and twice the RAM of the M3 family. It also hosts EC2 s only instance with 40 vcpu cores. Recommendation: AWS recommends these instances be used for relational and inmemory databases, gaming servers, caching fleets, batch processing, and business applications like SAP and Microsoft SharePoint. 9

10 Compute Optimized (C3) Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) c3.large x 16 c3.xlarge x 40 c3.2xlarge x 80 c3.4xlarge x 160 c3.8xlarge x 320 Some applications require very high CPU usage, but balanced memory usage. This situation is ideal for C3 instances because of their optimized compute capacity. They are recommended for applications that require more compute power because they offer high performing processors. They offer one of the highest levels of performance at a low cost because of their memory to vcpu and SSD storage ratio. The pattern continues when comparing the previous generations of C1 and CC2 instance types with the current generation of C3 instances. The current generation has the latest version of Intel Xeon processors as well enhanced networking and SSD storage. Recommendation: C3 instances are great for applications that require on-demand batch processing, and distributed analytics. They are also ideal for high performance science and engineering applications. 10

11 Compute Optimized (C4) Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) Storage (GB) c4.large c4.xlarge c4.2xlarge 8 15 c4.4xlarge c4.8xlarge throughput: 500Mbps throughput: 750Mbps throughput: 1000Mbps throughput: 2000Mbps throughput: 4000Mbps AWS offers this solution for instances that require strong compute power. The new C4 instances are based on the Intel Xeon E v3 (aka Haswell ) processor and use hardware virtualization (HVM). Intel has designed the special custom Xeon processor to optimize performance. As per AWS specifications, C4 instances run at a base speed of 2.9 GHz, and can go up to a clock speed of 3.5 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost. Intel s turbo boost technology allows the processor to run faster than the rated speed (2.9 GHz) as long as it stays within the design limits for power consumption and heat generation. This higher speed can boost the clock speed to as high as 3.5 GHz under optimal conditions to provide a powerful compute experience. Recommendation: If you are seeking greater performance over cost, C4 seems to be the go-to option. When using lots of EBS-optimized EC2 instances with the C3 family, it is recommended to switch to C4 for greater cost savings because C4 does not charge extra for EBS-optimized instances. At the same time, it offers ultra-high computation, making it well suited for applications that offer top-end website hosting, simulation, rendering, risk analysis, and online gaming. 11

12 Memory Optimized (R3) Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) r3.large x 32 r3.xlarge x 80 r3.2xlarge x 160 r3.4xlarge x 320 r3.8xlarge x 320 R3 instances are specialized for memory-intensive applications. They use the latest Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge processor and offer one of the best prices per GB of RAM. Additionally, they can sustain a memory bandwidth of 63,000 MB/s (according to AWS official announcement). The previous generation M2 and CR1 instance types lacked the latest version of Intel Xeon processors and enhanced networking. SSD backed storage was only available to CR1 instances. With R3 instances, major enhancements have been made to memory bandwidth, I/O performance, memory per instance and price point per GB of RAM. Recommendation: R3 instances are great for high performance databases, inmemory analytics, and distributed memory caches. 12

13 GPU Optimized (G2) Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) g2.2xlarge x 60 G2 instances are ideal for gaming applications that require very heavy graphics and 3D application data streaming. This instance family is backed by a high-performance NVIDIA GPU, and is suitable for audio, video, 3D imaging, and graphic streaming kinds of applications. In order to run the GPU instances, NVIDIA drivers need to be installed and can be launched from HVM AMIs. Recommendation: This instance type is ideal for game streaming, video encoding, and 3D application streaming. Storage Optimized (I2) Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) i2.xlarge x 800 SSD i2.2xlarge x 800 SSD i2.4xlarge x 800 SSD i2.8xlarge x 800 SSD I2 instances provide heavy SSDs for random I/Os that are required for databases, data warehouses and distributed systems such as Hadoop. They are suitable for NoSQL databases like HBase, Cassandra, MongoDB and OLTP. The previous generation of HI1 instance types lacked the latest version of Intel Xeon processors, EBS optimization, enhanced networking and TRIM support. Recommendation: NoSQL databases, Data warehousing, Distributed systems such as Hadoop and cluster file systems. 13

14 Dense Storage (D2) Instances Model vcpu Mem (GiB) HDD Storage (GB) d2.xlarge x 2000GB d2.2xlarge x 2000GB d2.4xlarge x 2000GB d2.8xlarge x 2000GB D2 instances provide the highest instance store of all EC2 instances, for data-rich workloads such as NoSQL databases, data warehousing and distributed workloads like Hadoop. It boasts very high read/write speeds (up to 3500/3100 MB/s respectively) and ranges between three and 24 2TB volumes. While the latter is equivalent with the previous generation HS1 instance in terms of storage, it exceeds it over twice-fold in both RAM and number (and generation) of vcpus. Recommendation: Distributed file systems, massively parallel processing (MPP) data warehousing, 14

15 EC2 Pricing Selecting an appropriate instance type requires understanding how an EC2 instance is priced. AWS provides three types of pricing models: 1. On-Demand Instances EC2 s on-demand purchase option provides more flexibility to end users by charging per hour of use. Once an instance is started, based on its pricing model (e.g. OS/size), AWS will charge users according to their pay-as-you-go model. There is no upfront cost. This is more useful for users that want to try AWS in production for a few months; for users that don t use AWS on a regular basis, but only for a few hours a day; or for spike-natured applications that scale temporarily. 2. Reserved Instances (RIs) AWS EC2 reserved instances provide up to 75% savings for long-running EC2 instances. There are three separate models that charge end users: all costs upfront, partial costs upfront or no costs upfront. This case is ideal for long running production systems. 3. Spot Instances In this pricing model, EC2 allows users to bid for unutilized capacity. The only catch is that the bid rate constantly changes and sometimes if it exceeds your bid, AWS will terminate your instance with a two-minute notice. This makes it ideal for temporary jobs like batch processing/hadoop. 15

16 Summary We explained various instance types, their families, as well as use cases. There are different parameters that define an instance. The major differences are RAM, ECU and vcpu. However, this depends on the type of application that requires the instance. Using these parameters, we prepared the tables below to help identify the right instance type for you. The first table specifies EC2 instances with Intel Xeon v2 processor families or lower. The second table specifies EC2 instances with the new Intel Xeon v3 processor, which was custom-designed and optimized for EC2. Instances with Intel Xeon v2 (Sandy Bridge) Architectures RAM (GB) vcpu t1.micro t2.micro t2.small m3.medium C4.large c3.large t2.medium m3.large c3.xlarge m3.xlarge c3.2xlarge g2.2xlarge r3.large m3.2xlarge c3.4xlarge r3.xlarge i2.xlarge r3.2xlarge c3.8xlarge i2.2xlarge r3.4xlarge i2.4xlarge 128+ r3.8xlarge i2.8xlarge Burstable Instances (t2) General Purpose (m3) Compute Optimized (c3) GPU Optimized (g2) Storage Optimized (i2) Memory Optimized (r3) 16

17 Instances with Intel Xeon v3 (Haswell) Architectures RAM (GB) vcpu c4.large c4.xlarge m4.large c4.2xlarge m4.xlarge c4.4xlarge d2.xlarge m4.2xlarge d2.2xlarge c4.8xlarge m4.4xlarge d2.4xlarge 128+ d2.8xlarge m4.10xlarge Compute-Optimized (C4) Dense-Storage (D2) General Purpose (M4) These tables give an idea of how instances can be chosen. Each row shows an instance type along with its associated RAM and CPU cores. It may happen that there could be more than one instance available for the same CPU capacity range, which means you d need to decide which one is best for you based on RAM as well as pricing. It is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all need. You must understand your application requirement (e.g. high CPU/memory, etc...) and select the right instance that meets your requirement. Choosing between the two tables depends on your preference of CPU generation: Up to Xeon v2 (Sandy Bridge) and Xeon v3 (Haswell) 17

18 ABOUT CLOUDYN Founded in 2011, Cloudyn is the leader in cloud monitoring and optimization. The company s industry award-winning SaaS solution delivers unprecedented insights into usage, performance, and cost, coupled with custom prescriptive actions for enhancing performance and reducing cloud spend.with more than 10,000,000 virtual instances monitored Cloudyn helps businesses select the right mix of cloud vendors, increase operational performance, reduce cloud costs to bring them under optimum control, and capitalize on customer choice. More than 2,400 customers use Cloudyn s technology worldwide including F500 industry leaders in aerospace, infrastructure, consumer online travel services, IT management consulting, and manufacturing. For more information, interested parties may visit 18

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