Amazon EC2 Bare Metal Instances with Direct Access to Hardware
When customers come to us with new and unique requirements for AWS, we listen closely, ask lots of questions, and do our best to understand and address their needs. When we do this, we make the resulting service or feature generally available; we do not build one-offs or “snowflakes” for individual customers. That model is messy and hard to scale and is not the way we work.
Instead, every AWS customer has access to whatever it is that we build, and everyone benefits. VMware Cloud on AWS is a good example of this strategy in action. They told us that they wanted to run their virtualization stack directly on the hardware, within the AWS Cloud, giving their customers access to the elasticity, security, and reliability (not to mention the broad array of services) that AWS offers.
We knew that other customers also had interesting use cases for bare metal hardware and didn’t want to take the performance hit of nested virtualization. They wanted access to the physical resources for applications that take advantage of low-level hardware features such as performance counters and Intel® VT that are not always available or fully supported in virtualized environments, and also for applications intended to run directly on the hardware or licensed and supported for use in non-virtualized environments.
Our multi-year effort to move networking, storage, and other EC2 features out of our virtualization platform and into dedicated hardware was already well underway and provided the perfect foundation for a possible solution. This work, as I described in Now Available – Compute-Intensive C5 Instances for Amazon EC2, includes a set of dedicated hardware accelerators.
Now that we have provided VMware with the bare metal access that they requested, we are doing the same for all AWS customers. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you can do with them!
New Bare Metal Instances
Today we are launching a public preview the i3.metal instance, the first in a series of EC2 instances that offer the best of both worlds, allowing the operating system to run directly on the underlying hardware while still providing access to all of the benefits of the cloud. The instance gives you direct access to the processor and other hardware, and has the following specifications:
- Processing – Two Intel Xeon E5-2686 v4 processors running at 2.3 GHz, with a total of 36 hyperthreaded cores (72 logical processors).
- Memory – 512 GiB.
- Storage – 15.2 terabytes of local, SSD-based NVMe storage.
- Network – 25 Gbps of ENA-based enhanced networking.
Bare Metal instances are full-fledged members of the EC2 family and can take advantage of Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, Amazon CloudWatch, Auto Recovery, and so forth. They can also access the full suite of AWS database, IoT, mobile, analytics, artificial intelligence, and security services.
We are launching a public preview of the Bare Metal instances today; please sign up now if you want to try them out.
You can now bring your specialized applications or your own stack of virtualized components to AWS and run them on Bare Metal instances. If you are using or thinking about using containers, these instances make a great host for CoreOS.
An AMI that works on one of the new C5 instances should also work on an I3 Bare Metal Instance. It must have the ENA and NVMe drivers, and must be tagged for ENA.