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  Syed Saif   Syed Saif Linkedin Profile | 26 Aug 2021 | Types of AWS EC2 Instances and Pricing Comparison

AWS has 350 plus EC2 instance types to choose from. From the huge number of choices it gets very confusing to decide on the right AWS EC2 instance type.You end up choosing an AWS EC2 instance type based on pricing and your budget.

AWS recommends measuring the performance of your applications by rigorous load testing on different EC2 instance types to identify the right EC2 instance for your workload. But for Startups and small businesses it becomes difficult or impractical to do realistic load testing since application and use cases itself are evolving. Also time and budget is another limiting factor.

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AWS EC2 Instance Types and Pricing Comparison Table
Types of Processors (Intel/AMD/etc) used in AWS EC2 Instances
How EC2 Instances are Classified?

EC2 Instance details on AWS website:
Going through the enormous content and the various technical details on the AWS website is overwhelming even for an expert. In this blog I explain the various details and the pricing in a concise and easy to understand way in a single page. You don’t have to browse through tons of different pages to understand or compare.

Instead of randomly choosing an EC2 instance type or choosing based on budget, you can follow these three simple steps for a more appropriate selection. The three simple steps are, understand the different EC2 instance types , key features and pricing. This ensures that you select the EC2 instance that matches your application requirements to a great extent.

Don’t want to read the below details and price comparison but need a quick approach to select the right EC2 instance type for your app ? I share the simple thumb ruleand quick approach to choose the right EC2 instance in this blog.

Processors used in AWS EC2 instances:
AWS classifies EC2 instance types based on the type of workload they are best suited for. Another key factor you should be aware of is the processor used. Most of the AWS EC2 instances come in three different types of processor. Intel processor , AMD processor and AWS own Graviton2 processor.


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AWS Graviton2 processor based EC2 instance types are the cheapest for a given CPU and memory combination when compared to AMD processor and Intel processor based EC2 instance types. Intel Processor based EC2 instance types are the costliest.

Instances with “a” in their name(e.g M5a.large) means they are AMD Processor based and “g” in the name(e.g M6g.large) means they are AWS Gravitron processor based.One variation in the naming convention is the A1 series. A1(a1.medium) series are based on the AWS Gravitron processor though no “g” is present.

Let’s understand the various classifications of AWS ec2 instances:
General Purpose: These Instances offer a balance of compute, memory, and network resources. General purpose instance types are T4g,T3,T3a,M6g,M5,M5a,M5ad and A1 series. T3 series are Burstable instances. Meaning the instance earns credit if used less than 100% utilization. These credits are used to burst beyond the capacity when required for a short duration. The credits get reset every 24hrs.

T3 series should be the instances you should opt for if you are not sure of usage pattern and CPU/memory requirements.

ComputeOptimized : Suitable for compute-intensive workloads. Compute intensive applications that require more processing power and less memory. In these EC2 instance types CPU to Memory will be in the ratio of 1:2. E.g 2 vCPUs and 4 GB Memory.

Memory Optimized : If your application requires more memory and lesser processing power then memory optimized instances are ideal. CPU to Memory ratio is 1:8 in memory optimized instances. E.g for 1 vCPU you will have 8GB of memory.

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Accelerated Computing: If your workload is machine learning , high performance computing or requires graphics processing power then accelerated computing instances are the right choice. You have options to choose the number of GPUs.

AWS EC2 Instance Types Pricing Compared
Instance Family Instance Type Processor Family Minimum Number of CPUs Minimum Memory Size(GB) Maximum Number of CPUs Maximum Memory Size(GB) Pricing Per month in USD for Minimum Config Pricing Per month in USD for Maximum Config
General Purpose T4g AWS Graviton2 processors 2 0.5 8 32 $2 $129
General Purpose T3 Intel Xeon Scalable processors 2 0.5 8 32 $4 $258
General Purpose T3a AMD EPYC 7000 series processors 2 0.5 8 32 $2 $142
General Purpose M6g AWS Graviton2 processors 1 4 64 256 $18 $1165
General Purpose M5 Intel Xeon® Platinum 8175M processor 2 8 96 384 $73 $3491
General Purpose M5a AMD EPYC 7000 series processors 2 8 96 384 $40 $1920
General Purpose M5ad AMD EPYC 7000 series processors 2 8 96 384 $48 $2319
General Purpose A1 AWS Graviton Processor 1 2 16 32 $18 $294
Compute Optimized C6g AWS Graviton2 processors 1 2 64 128 $15 $982
Compute Optimized C5 Intel Xeon Scalable Processors 2 4 96 192 $61 $2938
Compute Optimized C5a AMD EPYC 7002 Processors 2 4 96 192 $34 $1624
Compute Optimized C5n Intel Xeon Platinum processors 2 5.25 72 192 $78 $2799
Memory Optimized R6g AWS Graviton2 Processor 1 8 64 512 $23 $1498
Memory Optimized R5 Intel Xeon® Platinum 8000 series processors 2 16 96 768 $94 $4492
Memory Optimized R5a AMD EPYC 7000 series processors 2 16 96 768 $52 $2471
Memory Optimized R5n Intel Xeon Scalable Processors 2 16 96 768 $110 $5287
Memory Optimized X1e Intel Xeon Scalable Processors 2 16 96 768 $110 $5288
Memory Optimized Z1d Intel Xeon Scalable Processors 2 16 48 384 $141 $3387
Accelerated Computing P2 Intel Xeon E5-2686 v4 processors 4 61 64 732 $1237 $19791
Accelerated Computing inf1 Intel Xeon Scalable Processors 4 8 96 192 $173 $3575

1.Pricing is for On-Demand instances. Other pricing options are Reserved Instances and Savings Plan. Learn the difference here.
2.AWS Region considered for pricing is Asia Pacific – Mumbai.
3.Minimum Config Pricing refers to the minimum number of CPUs and Memory. Similarly for maximum config pricing.

AWS , Azure and Google Cloud price comparison:
Want to compare AWS , Azure and Google Pricing ? Check out the detailed price comparison here.

Need guidance or support to decide on choosing the right option?  Click here to know how you can get help.

And if  you wish to understand AWS EC2 instances in more detail check out the AWS EC2 Instance Types page. For more details on AWS EC2 Pricing click here

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