Amazon EC2 instance types are optimized for different tasks. When selecting an instance type, consider the specific needs of your workloads and applications. This might include requirements for compute, memory, or storage capabilities.
General purpose instances
provide a balance of compute, memory, and networking resources. You can use them for a variety of workloads, such as:
- application servers
- gaming servers
- backend servers for enterprise applications
- small and medium databases
Suppose that you have an application in which the resource needs for compute, memory, and networking are roughly equivalent. You might consider running it on a general purpose instance because the application does not require optimization in any single resource area.
Compute optimized instances
are ideal for compute-bound applications that benefit from high-performance processors. Like general purpose instances, you can use compute optimized instances for workloads such as web, application, and gaming servers.
However, the difference is compute optimized applications are ideal for high-performance web servers, compute-intensive applications servers, and dedicated gaming servers. You can also use compute optimized instances for batch processing workloads that require processing many transactions in a single group.
Memory optimized instances
are designed to deliver fast performance for workloads that process large datasets in memory. In computing, memory is a temporary storage area. It holds all the data and instructions that a central processing unit (CPU) needs to be able to complete actions. Before a computer program or application is able to run, it is loaded from storage into memory. This preloading process gives the CPU direct access to the computer program.
Suppose that you have a workload that requires large amounts of data to be preloaded before running an application. This scenario might be a high-performance database or a workload that involves performing real-time processing of a large amount of unstructured data. In these types of use cases, consider using a memory optimized instance. Memory optimized instances enable you to run workloads with high memory needs and receive great performance.
Accelerated computing instances
use hardware accelerators, or coprocessors, to perform some functions more efficiently than is possible in software running on CPUs. Examples of these functions include floating-point number calculations, graphics processing, and data pattern matching.
In computing, a hardware accelerator is a component that can expedite data processing. Accelerated computing instances are ideal for workloads such as graphics applications, game streaming, and application streaming.
Storage optimized instances
are designed for workloads that require high, sequential read and write access to large datasets on local storage. Examples of workloads suitable for storage optimized instances include distributed file systems, data warehousing applications, and high-frequency online transaction processing (OLTP) systems.
In computing, the term input/output operations per second (IOPS) is a metric that measures the performance of a storage device. It indicates how many different input or output operations a device can perform in one second. Storage optimized instances are designed to deliver tens of thousands of low-latency, random IOPS to applications.
You can think of input operations as data put into a system, such as records entered into a database. An output operation is data generated by a server. An example of output might be the analytics performed on the records in a database. If you have an application that has a high IOPS requirement, a storage optimized instance can provide better performance over other instance types not optimized for this kind of use case.