It’s the week of AWS’s annual reInvent 2020 conference, and today EC2 and EBS are getting some major upgrades, with faster storage for all instances and 6 new EC2 instance types.
EBS upgrades – gp3 and io2 Block Express
EC2’s underlying storage has become a lot faster: both SSD-based EBS volumes, general purpose and provisioned IOPS, are getting upgrades. These are likely both powered by the relatively new PCIe 4.0 standard, which brings significant improvements over previous-generation SSDs.
First, gp3, which is a generation upgrade from the default gp2 volumes to which EC2 defaults. These still limit to 1
The high-performance provisioned IOPS instances will also be upgraded. It’s called io2 Block Express, and it’s just a faster drive with a maximum throughput of 4000MB / s per volume, again four times higher than before. Latency has also improved to less than a millisecond. The price is the same, but since you have to pay for io2 for “provisioned IOPS”, essentially buying speed, you have to pay more for higher performance drives.
New instance types
In addition to new storage, a number of new instance types have been announced.
One of the weirdest is EC2 Mac Instances, which is exactly what you think, a Mac Mini in the cloud. Notably, these aren’t Apple’s fancy new M1-powered Mac Minis, just the much slower Core i7 model. Its purpose is to make it easy to provision and rent Mac-based virtual environments for developers. There is only one instance type, mac1.metal, which comes with 12 cores and 32 GB of RAM.
R5b, a new series of AWS’s memory-oriented R5 database instances. The R5b instances can use gp3 and io2 block express volumes for much better performance. Not much new, but since block storage is often a bottleneck for high-write operations, this will be a great upgrade for many people.
C6g, M6g and R6g instances are all based on AWS’s ARM-based Graviton2 processor and support 100 Gbps networks. They are advertised to deliver up to “40% better price performance” compared to x86 instances, although that can be found in “a large number of applications built on open source software using Linux distributions,” which is what marketing says for “It’s not 40% better at everything.” Regardless, AWS’s custom silicon is very promising, and the Graviton2 chip competes well with x86 processors.
The new D3 series delivers the highest local storage capacity in the cloud. The feature has a faster disk speed and up to 336 TB of space at an 80% lower cost per TB of storage compared to D2 instances.
G4dn is a new GPU instance designed to provide the best value for money for graphics models and machine learning models. They are powered by up to 8 NVIDIA T4 GPUs, 96 vCPUs, 100 Gbps networks and 1.8 TB local NVMe-based SSD storage. They are also available as bare metal copies.
Finally, they announce M5zn instances, which are pretty straightforward, except they have high clock up to 4.5GHz and 100Gbps networks.