Posted On: May 17, 2018

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) bare metal instances provide your applications with direct access to the processor and memory resources of the underlying server. These instances are ideal for workloads that require access to the hardware feature set (such as Intel® VT-x), or for applications that need to run in non-virtualized environments for licensing or support requirements. Bare metal instances are built on the Nitro system, a collection of AWS-built hardware offload and server protection components that come together to securely provide high performance networking and storage resources to EC2 instances. Bare metal instances were announced for preview at AWS re:Invent 2017, and are now generally available with the EC2 Storage Optimized I3 instance family in the form of i3.metal instances.

Bare metal instances allow EC2 customers to run applications that benefit from deep performance analysis tools, specialized workloads that require direct access to bare metal infrastructure, legacy workloads not supported in virtual environments, and licensing-restricted Tier 1 business critical applications. Bare metal instances also make it possible for customers to run virtualization secured containers such as Clear Linux Containers. Workloads on bare metal instances continue to take advantage of all the comprehensive services and features of the AWS Cloud, such as Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

Bare metal I3 instances have been in production since August of 2017, powering the VMware Cloud on AWS service that launched after 18 months of joint development and testing effort between VMware and AWS. This unique hybrid cloud offering enables customers to use their existing VMware based deployment and management methodology to extend their on-premises data center environments into the AWS Cloud. Bare metal instances enable VMware to run their full suite of software, including vSphere Hypervisor, directly on EC2 managed infrastructure.

As a new instance size belonging to the I3 instance family, bare metal I3 instances have the same characteristics as other instances in the family, including NVMe SSD-backed instance storage optimized for low latency, very high random I/O performance, and high sequential read throughput. I3.metal instances are powered by 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon processors, offering 36 hyper-threaded cores (72 logical processors), 512 GiB of memory, and 15.2 TB of NVMe SSD-backed instance storage. These instances deliver high networking throughput and lower latency with up to 25 Gbps of aggregate network bandwidth using Elastic Network Adapter (ENA)-based Enhanced Networking.

Bare metal I3 instances are available in the AWS US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Frankfurt) and Europe (Ireland) Regions, and can be purchased as On-Demand instances, Reserved instances (3-Yr, 1-Yr, and Convertible), or as Spot instances. To get started, visit the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), and AWS SDKs. To learn more, visit the Amazon EC2 I3 instance page.