EC2 Compute

November 7, 2016


Understanding what AWS/EC2 provides for provisioning on-demand computing is essential for all DevOps.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

Amazon EC2 is AWS primary web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud.

EC2 Compute

Compute is computational power needed for your use case. Amazon EC2 allows add compute resources through its Web Service API. EC2 allows you to launch instances. An instance is a server and you can install whatever software you need for your service or web application: NGINX, Apache httpd, Cassandra, Kafka, etc. When you launch a virtual server, an instance in EC2 speak, you can use it as you like just like you would a server in your datacenter. You pay for the compute power that you use. There are different instance types with various ranges of CPU, RAM, IO, and networking power. You pay for compute resources by the hour. You can use more instances and you can reserve instances for longer periods of time for a price break.

Instance Types

The instance type defines the size of the virtual instance. There are many types of EC2 instances.

  • Virtual CPUs (vCPUs)
  • Memory RAM (size and type)
  • Network performance

There are families of instance types. Amazon used its own way to measure compute power called ECU, but has since moved to the more industry standard vCPU. A vCPU is a hyperthread of an Intel Xeon core for M4, M3, C4, C3, R3, HS1, G2, I2, and D2.

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  • T2 - inexpensive and burst-able (good for less expensive and more sporadic workloads)
  • M4 - new generation of general purpose instances (added clustering and placement groups to M3)
  • M3 - old generation of general purpose instances (don’t use this one, M4 is cheaper and better)
  • C4 - compute optimized like M4 but less memory and more vCPUs (use this if you are not using all of your M4 memory)
  • C3 - use C4 as C3 does not provide clustering and placement groups C3 is to M3 as C4 is to M4
  • X1 - memory optimized for in-memory computing (SAP HANA)
  • R3 - memory intensive databases and distributed caches (MongoDB)
  • P2 - GPU intensive applications (Machine learning)
  • G2 - graphics-intensive applications (server-side graphic workloads)
  • I2 - High IOPS at lower cost, SSD storage (MongoDB, Cassandra)
  • D2 - High IO throughput and large disks at lower cost, magnetic storage (MapReduce, Cassandra, Kafka)

Network speed

Instance types m4, c4, p2, g2, r3, g2, x1, i2 and d2 support placement groups which are essential for server to server performance which is important for clustering.

To get a virtual NiC card capable of 10 Gigabits, you need at least 32 vCPUs.

Cloudurable provides Cassandra training, Cassandra consulting, Cassandra support and helps setting up Cassandra clusters in AWS.

Slide deck that covers configuring AWS Cassandra to run with best EC2 instance type

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About Cloudurable

Cloudurable provides Cassandra training, Cassandra consulting, Cassandra support and helps setting up Cassandra clusters in AWS. Cloudurable also provides Kafka training, Kafka consulting, Kafka support and helps setting up Kafka clusters in AWS.

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