Late last year, at its re:Invent developer conference, Amazon announced that it would soon launch its fastest EC2 instances yet. Starting today, developers on AWS can spin up these new C4 instances to power their highly compute-intensive applications in Amazon’s cloud.
As Amazon notes, these new instances are designed for applications where CPU performance is critical. These include “high-traffic front-end fleets, MMO gaming, media processing, transcoding, and High-Performance Computing (HPC) applications.” The new instances exclusively use Intel Xeon E5-2666 v3 processors running at base speeds of 2.9 GHz. With Turbo Boost, which mainly benefits applications that don’t need all of the processor’s cores, the chip can run at up to 3.5 GHz. Amazon offers its users C4 instances with up to 36 virtual CPUs (and 18 physical ones) — more than some operating systems can even use
Amazon offers its users C4 instances with up to 36 virtual CPUs (and 18 physical ones) — more than some operating systems can even use. Developers who opt for the largest instances — the aptly named c4.8xlarge instance — can also manage the processor’s power settings directly to tune the processor’s settings for their specific applications. Amazon also notes that the new instances are optimized to work with its EBS storage service.
Amazon’s launch comes only a week after Microsoft made a similar announcement. Microsoft Azure’s G-series instances offer up to 32 virtual CPUs and use the same CPUs as Amazon’s new C4 instances. While Amazon is focusing on compute-intensive applications, though, Microsoft is aiming at broader use cases (including database servers) and lets developers add up to 448GB of RAM.