Amazon EC2 provides a wide selection of instance types optimized to fit different use cases. Instance types comprise varying combinations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking capacity and give you the flexibility to choose the appropriate mix of resources for your applications. Each instance type includes one or more instance sizes, allowing you to scale your resources to the requirements of your target workload.

T2 instances are Burstable Performance Instances that provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst above the baseline. The baseline performance and ability to burst are governed by CPU Credits. Each T2 instance receives CPU Credits continuously at a set rate depending on the instance size.  T2 instances accrue CPU Credits when they are idle, and use CPU credits when they are active.  T2 instances are a good choice for workloads that don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need to burst (e.g. web servers, developer environments and small databases). For more information see Burstable Performance Instances.

Features:

  • High Frequency Intel Xeon Processors operating at 2.5GHz with Turbo up to 3.3GHz
  • Burstable CPU, governed by CPU Credits, and consistent baseline performance
  • Lowest-cost general purpose instance type, and Free Tier eligible (t2.micro only)
  • Balance of compute, memory, and network resources

Model vCPU CPU Credits / hour
Mem (GiB)  Storage   (GB)
t2.micro 1 6 1 EBS Only
t2.small 1 12 2 EBS Only
t2.medium 2 24 4 EBS Only

Use Cases

Development environments, build servers, code repositories, low-traffic web applications, early product experiments, small databases. 

This family includes the M3 instance types and provides a balance of compute, memory, and network resources, and it is a good choice for many applications.

Features:

  • High Frequency Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 (Ivy Bridge) Processors*
  • SSD-based instance storage for fast I/O performance
  • Balance of compute, memory, and network resources
Model vCPU Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB)
m3.medium 1 3.75 1 x 4 
m3.large 2 7.5 1 x 32
m3.xlarge 4 15 2 x 40
m3.2xlarge 8 30 2 x 80 

Use Cases

Small and mid-size databases, data processing tasks that require additional memory, caching fleets, and for running backend servers for SAP, Microsoft SharePoint, and other enterprise applications.

*M3 instances may also launch as an Intel Xeon E5-2670 (Sandy Bridge) Processor running at 2.6 GHz.

C3 instances are the latest generation of compute-optimized instances, providing customers with the highest performing processors and the lowest price/compute performance available in EC2 currently. 

Features:

  • High Frequency Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 (Ivy Bridge) Processors
  • Support for Enhanced Networking
  • Support for clustering
  • SSD-backed instance storage
Model vCPU Mem (GiB) SSD Storage  (GB)
c3.large 2 3.75 2 x 16
c3.xlarge 4 7.5 2 x 40
c3.2xlarge 8 15 2 x 80
c3.4xlarge 16 30 2 x 160
c3.8xlarge 32 60 2 x 320

Use Cases

High performance front-end fleets, web-servers, on-demand batch processing, distributed analytics, high performance science and engineering applications, ad serving, batch processing, MMO gaming, video encoding, and distributed analytics.

R3 instances are optimized for memory-intensive applications and have the lowest cost per GiB of RAM among Amazon EC2 instance types.

Features:

  • High Frequency Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 (Ivy Bridge) Processors
  • Lowest price point per GiB of RAM
  • SSD Storage
  • Support for Enhanced Networking
Model vCPU Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB)
r3.large 2 15.25 1 x 32
r3.xlarge 4 30.5 1 x 80
r3.2xlarge 8 61 1 x 160
r3.4xlarge 16 122 1 x 320
r3.8xlarge
32
244
2 x 320

Use Cases

We recommend memory-optimized instances for high performance databases, distributed memory caches, in-memory analytics, genome assembly and analysis, larger deployments of SAP, Microsoft SharePoint, and other enterprise applications.

This family includes G2 instances intended for graphics and general purpose GPU compute applications. 

Features:

  • High Frequency Intel Xeon E5-2670 (Sandy Bridge) Processors
  • High-performance NVIDIA GPU with 1,536 CUDA cores and 4GB of video memory
  • On-board hardware video encoder designed to support up to eight real-time HD video streams (720p@30fps) or up to four real-time FHD video streams (1080p at 30 fps).
  • Support for low-latency frame capture and encoding for either the full operating system or select render targets, enabling high-quality interactive streaming experiences.
Model vCPU Mem (GiB) SSD Storage (GB)
g2.2xlarge 8 15 1 x 60 

Use Cases

Game streaming, video encoding, 3D application streaming, and other server-side graphics workloads.

This family includes the High Storage Instances that provide very fast SSD-backed instance storage optimized for very high random I/O performance, and provide high IOPS at a low cost.

 

Features:

  • High Frequency Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 (Ivy Bridge) Processors
  • SSD Storage
  • Support for TRIM
  • Support for Enhanced Networking
  • High Random I/O performance
Model vCPU Mem (GiB) Storage (GB)
i2.xlarge 4 30.5 1 x 800 SSD
i2.2xlarge 8 61 2 x 800 SSD
i2.4xlarge 16 122 4 x 800 SSD
i2.8xlarge 32 244 8 x 800 SSD

Use Cases

NoSQL databases like Cassandra and MongoDB, scale out transactional databases, data warehousing, Hadoop, and cluster file systems.

HS1 instances provide very high storage density and high sequential read and write performance per instance. It also offers the highest storage density among other EC2 instances and is lowest on $/GB storage.

Features:

  • High sequential I/O performance
  • Delivers 2.6 GB per second read and write performance with 2 MiB block size
Model vCPU Mem (GiB) Storage (GB)
hs1.8xlarge 16 117 24 x 2048

Use Cases

Data warehousing, Hadoop/MapReduce, Parallel file systems


Instance Type vCPU Memory (GiB)  Storage (GB) Networking Performance
Physical Processor Clock Speed (GHz) Intel® AES-NI Intel® AVX Intel® Turbo EBS OPT
Enhanced Networking
t2.micro 1 1 EBS Only Low to Moderate Intel Xeon family 2.5 Yes Yes Yes - -
t2.small 1
2
EBS Only
Low to Moderate
Intel Xeon family
2.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
-
-
t2.medium 2 4 EBS Only Low to Moderate Intel Xeon family
2.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
-
-
m3.medium 1 3.75 1 x 4 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2* 2.5 Yes Yes Yes - -
m3.large 2 7.5 1 x 32 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2* 2.5 Yes Yes Yes - -
m3.xlarge 4 15 2 x 40 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2* 2.5 Yes Yes Yes Yes -
m3.2xlarge 8 30 2 x 80 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2* 2.5 Yes Yes Yes Yes -
c3.large 2 3.75 2 x 16 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 2.8 Yes Yes Yes - Yes
c3.xlarge 4 7.5 2 x 40 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 2.8 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
c3.2xlarge 8 15 2 x 80 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 2.8 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
c3.4xlarge 16 30 2 x 160 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 2.8 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
c3.8xlarge 32 60 2 x 320 SSD 10 Gigabit Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 2.8 Yes Yes Yes - Yes
g2.2xlarge 8 15 1 x 60 SSD High Intel Xeon  E5-2670
2.6 Yes - - Yes -
r3.large 2 15.25 1 x 32 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5 Yes Yes Yes - Yes
r3.xlarge 4 30.5 1 x 80 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes Yes
r3.2xlarge 8 61 1 x 160 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes Yes
r3.4xlarge 16 122 1 x 320 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes Yes
r3.8xlarge 32 244 2 x 320 SSD 10 Gigabit Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
- Yes
i2.xlarge 4 30.5 1 x 800 SSD Moderate Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
i2.2xlarge 8 61 2 x 800 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
i2.4xlarge 16 122 4 x 800 SSD High Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
i2.8xlarge 32 244 8 x 800 SSD 10 Gigabit Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 2.5 Yes Yes Yes - Yes
hs1.8xlarge 16 117 24 x 2,048 10 Gigabit Intel Xeon Family 2 Yes - - - -

Each vCPU is a hyperthreaded core for M3, C3, R3, HS1, G2, and I2.

*M3 instances may also launch as an Intel Xeon E5-2670 (Sandy Bridge) Processor running at 2.6 GHz.

Looking for T1, M1, C1, CC2, M2, CR1, CG1, or HI1 Instances? See the Previous Generation Instances page.

 

Amazon EC2 instances provide a number of additional features to help you deploy, manage, and scale your applications.

Amazon EC2 allows you to choose between Fixed Performance Instances (e.g. M3, C3, and R3) and Burstable Performance Instances (e.g. T2). Burstable Performance Instances provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst above the baseline. T2 instances are for workloads that don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need to burst.

T2 instances’ baseline performance and ability to burst are governed by CPU Credits. Each T2 instance receives CPU Credits continuously, the rate of which depends on the instance size. T2 instances accrue CPU Credits when they are idle, and use CPU credits when they are active. A CPU Credit provides the performance of a full CPU core for one minute.

For example, a t2.small instance receives credits continuously at a rate of 12 CPU Credits per hour. This capability provides baseline performance equivalent to 20% of a CPU core. If at any moment the instance does not need the credits it receives, it stores them in its CPU Credit balance for up to 24 hours. If and when your t2.small needs to burst to more than 20% of a core, it draws from its CPU Credit balance to handle this surge seamlessly. Over time, if you find your workload needs more CPU Credits than you have, or your instance does not maintain a positive CPU Credit balance, we recommend either a larger T2 size, such as the t2.medium, or a Fixed Performance Instance type.

Many applications such as web servers, developer environments and small databases don’t need consistently high levels of CPU, but benefit significantly from having full access to very fast CPUs when they need them.  T2 instances are engineered specifically for these use cases.  If you need consistently high CPU performance for applications such as video encoding, high volume websites or HPC applications, we recommend you use Fixed Performance Instances.  T2 instances are designed to perform as if they have dedicated high speed Intel cores available when your application really needs CPU performance, while protecting you from the variable performance or other common side effects you might typically see from over-subscription in other environments.

Amazon EC2 allows you to choose between multiple storage options based on your requirements. Amazon EBS is a durable, block-level storage volume that you can attach to a single, running Amazon EC2 instance. You can use Amazon EBS as a primary storage device for data that requires frequent and granular updates. For example, Amazon EBS is the recommended storage option when you run a database on Amazon EC2. Amazon EBS volumes persist independently from the running life of an Amazon EC2 instance. Once a volume is attached to an instance you can use it like any other physical hard drive. Amazon EBS provides three volume types to best meet the needs of your workloads: General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), and Magnetic. General Purpose (SSD) is the new, SSD-backed, general purpose EBS volume type that we recommend as the default choice for customers. General Purpose (SSD) volumes are suitable for a broad range of workloads, including small to medium sized databases, development and test environments, and boot volumes. Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes offer storage with consistent and low-latency performance, and are designed for I/O intensive applications such as large relational or NoSQL databases. Magnetic volumes provide the lowest cost per gigabyte of all EBS volume types. Magnetic volumes are ideal for workloads where data is accessed infrequently, and applications where the lowest storage cost is important.

Many Amazon EC2 instances can also include storage from disks that are physically attached to the host computer. This disk storage is referred to as instance store. Instance store provides temporary block-level storage for Amazon EC2 instances. The data on an instance store volume persists only during the life of the associated Amazon EC2 instance.

In addition to block level storage via Amazon EBS or instance store, you can also use Amazon S3 for highly durable, highly available object storage. Learn more about Amazon EC2 storage options from the Amazon EC2 documentation.

For an additional low, hourly fee, customers can launch selected Amazon EC2 instances types as EBS-optimized instances. EBS-optimized instances enable EC2 instances to fully use the IOPS provisioned on an EBS volume. EBS-optimized instances deliver dedicated throughput between Amazon EC2 and Amazon EBS, with options between 500 and 2,000 Megabits per second (Mbps) depending on the instance type used. The dedicated throughput minimizes contention between Amazon EBS I/O and other traffic from your EC2 instance, providing the best performance for your EBS volumes. EBS-optimized instances are designed for use with both Standard and Provisioned IOPS Amazon EBS volumes. When attached to EBS-optimized instances, Provisioned IOPS volumes can achieve single digit millisecond latencies and are designed to deliver within 10% of the provisioned IOPS performance 99.9% of the time. We recommend using Provisioned IOPS volumes with EBS-optimized instances or instances that support cluster networking for applications with high storage I/O requirements.

Enhanced Networking enables you to get significantly higher packet per second (PPS) performance, lower network jitter and lower latencies. This feature uses a new network virtualization stack that provides higher I/O performance and lower CPU utilization compared to traditional implementations. In order to take advantage of Enhanced Networking, you should launch an HVM AMI in VPC, and install the appropriate driver. Enhanced Networking is currently supported in C3, R3, and I2 instances. For instructions on how to enable Enhanced Networking on EC2 instances, see the Enhanced Networking on Linux and Enhanced Networking on Windows tutorials. To learn more about this feature, check out the Enhanced Networking FAQ section.

C3, I2, CR1, G2, and HS1 instances support cluster networking. Instances launched into a common cluster placement group are placed into a logical cluster that provides high-bandwidth, low-latency networking between all instances in the cluster. Cluster networking is ideal for high performance analytics systems and many science and engineering applications, especially those using the MPI library standard for parallel programming.

Dedicated Instances are Amazon EC2 instances that run on single-tenant hardware dedicated to a single customer. They are ideal for workloads where corporate policies or industry regulations require that your EC2 instances be physically isolated at the host hardware level from instances that belong to other customers. Dedicated Instances let you take full advantage of the benefits of the AWS cloud – on-demand elastic provisioning, pay only for what you use, all while ensuring that your Amazon EC2 compute instances are isolated at the hardware level.

Amazon EC2 instances provide access to the following processor features from Intel including:

  • Intel® AES New Instructions (AES-NI): Intel AES-NI encryption instruction set improves upon the original Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm to provide faster data protection and greater security.
  • Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX): Intel AVX is a 256-bit instruction set extension designed for applications that are Floating Point (FP) intensive. It improves performance for applications like image and audio/video processing, scientific simulations, financial analytics, and 3D modeling and analysis.
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology: Intel Turbo Boost Technology provides more performance when needed. The processor is able to automatically run cores faster than the base operating frequency to help you get more done faster.

Not all processor features are available in all instance types, check out the instance type matrix for more detailed information on which features are available from which instance types.

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Amazon EC2 allows you to provision a variety of instances types, which provide different combinations of CPU, memory, disk, and networking. Launching new instances and running tests in parallel is easy, and we recommend measuring the performance of applications to identify appropriate instance types and validate application architecture. We also recommend rigorous load/scale testing to ensure that your applications can scale as you intend.

Amazon EC2 provides you with a large number of options across ten different instance types, each with one or more size options, organized into six distinct instance families optimized for different types of applications. We recommend that you assess the requirements of your applications and select the appropriate instance family as a starting point for application performance testing. You should start evaluating the performance of your applications by (a) identifying how your application needs compare to different instance families (e.g. is the application compute-bound, memory-bound, etc.?), and (b) sizing your workload to identify the appropriate instance size. There is no substitute for measuring the performance of your full application since application performance can be impacted by the underlying infrastructure or by software and architectural limitations. We recommend application-level testing, including the use of application profiling and load testing tools and services.