AWS Public Sector Blog

What’s New for AWS Compute Services from re:Invent 2016

We recently recapped the security and compliance updates announced at this year’s re:Invent that are important to our public sector customers. AWS also expanded upon its core foundational services – compute and storage – by announcing new game-changing services and special features.

Check out the below compute updates and our follow-up post covering the storage services that every government, education, and nonprofit organization should know that will help them focus more of their time and resources on their core missions.

Amazon Lightsail – The Easiest Way to Get Started

Amazon Lightsail brings you the power of the AWS Cloud with the simplicity of a virtual private server (VPS). AWS components, such as servers and storage IP addresses, are automatically assembled in just a few clicks. You can choose a configuration from a menu and launch a virtual machine preconfigured with SSD-based storage, DNS management, and a static IP address. Launch your favorite operating system, developer stack, or application with flat-rate pricing starting at $5 per month. As your organization’s needs grow or change, simply connect to additional AWS database, messaging, and content distribution services without disruption.

Amazon EC2 Compute Services

In addition to the expansion of high I/O, compute-optimized, memory-optimized, and burstable EC2 compute instances, AWS now offers hardware acceleration with FPGA-based computing and elastic, add-on Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) that enhance EC2 instance capabilities.

  • Elastic GPUs – Add high performance graphics acceleration to existing EC2 instance types at a fraction of the cost of stand-alone graphics instances, with your choice of 1 GiB to 8 GiB of GPU memory and compute power to match. The Amazon-optimized OpenGL library automatically detects and makes use of Elastic GPUs, which are ideal if you need a small amount of GPU for graphics acceleration or have applications that could benefit from some GPU but also require high amounts of compute, memory, or storage.
  • F1 Instances – F1 instances give you access to programmable hardware known as a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which can speed up many compute-intensive workloads by up to 30 times (e.g. HPC, genomics, encryption, and risk analysis workloads). F1 instances are easy to program and come with everything you need to develop, simulate, debug, and compile your hardware acceleration code.
  • R4 Instances – The next generation of R4 instances are designed for memory-intensive Business Intelligence and database applications and offers up to 488 GiB of memory. Instances are available in six sizes, with up to 64 vCPUs.
  • New T2 Instance Sizes – T2 instances offer great price performance for general purpose workloads, such as application servers, web servers, development environments, and small databases, or where you need to use the full CPU on a consistent basis. We’ve added the t2.xlarge (16 GiB of memory) and the t2.2xlarge (32 GiB of memory).
  • Coming Soon: C5 Instances – C5 instances will be based on Intel’s brand new Xeon “Skylake” processor, running faster than the processors in any other EC2 instance. As the successor to Broadwell, Skylake supports AVX-512 for machine learning inference, multimedia, scientific, and video processing, which require superior support for floating point calculations. Instances will be available in six sizes, with up to 72 vCPUs and 144 GiB of memory. Coming in early 2017.
  • Coming Soon: I3 Instances – I3 instances are equipped with fast, low-latency, and Non Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)-based Solid State Drives, to meet the needs of the most demanding I/O intensive relational and NoSQL databases, transactional, and data analytics workloads. They’ll deliver up to 3.3 million random IOPS at a 4 KB block size and up to 16 GB/second of disk throughput. Available in 2017.

IPv6 Support for Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 instances in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) now offer native support for the IPv6 protocol. Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is a new version of the Internet Protocol that uses a larger address space than its predecessor, IPv4. IPv6 support allows your organization to meet mandated requirements and removes the need for IPv6 to IPv4 translation software or systems.

With IPv6 enabled in a VPC, applications can be secured in the same easy manner available today through security groups, network ACLs, and route tables. VPCs can now operate in a dual-stack mode with the ability to assign both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses on EC2 instances.

AWS Batch for ‘Big Compute’ Workloads

Researchers, scientists, and developers with parallel compute-intensive workloads can now avoid the challenge of buying and building clusters or waiting in job queues on-premises. AWS Batch offers fully managed batch compute capabilities with usage-based pricing, enabling Big Compute and HPC jobs to dynamically scale up and down in response to changing needs—without the heavy lift and costs of provisioning, managing, and maintaining clusters.

EC2 Systems Manager

Amazon EC2 Systems Manager is a management service that makes it simple and seamless for customers to manage their cloud and hybrid cloud environments by extending the elasticity and agility of the cloud into on-premises data centers. EC2 Systems Manager collects software inventory, applies OS patches, creates system images, configures Windows and Linux operating systems, and performs remote administration across your Amazon EC2 and on-premises systems. And it lets you record and govern your EC2 instance’s software configuration with AWS Config.


Blox is a collection of open source software that enables customers to build custom schedulers and integrate third-party schedulers on top of Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service), which helps you build, run, and scale Docker-based applications, with the scheduler assigning tasks to Amazon EC2 instances. Blox consumes the Amazon ECS event stream, uses it to track the state of the cluster, and makes the state accessible via a set of REST APIs.

Check back in on our storage announcement recap post coming soon.

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).