Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Linux Instances

Burstable Performance Instances

Burstable performance instances, which are T3 and T2 instances, are designed to provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst to a higher level when required by your workload. Burstable performance instances are well suited for a wide range of general-purpose applications. Examples include microservices, low-latency interactive applications, small and medium databases, virtual desktops, development, build, and stage environments, code repositories, and product prototypes.

Burstable performance instances are the only instance types that use credits for CPU usage. For more information about instance pricing and additional hardware details, see Amazon EC2 Pricing and Amazon EC2 Instance Types.

If your account is less than 12 months old, you can use a t2.micro instance for free within certain usage limits. For more information, see AWS Free Tier.

Hardware Specifications

The following is a summary of the hardware specifications for burstable performance instances.

Instance type Default vCPUs Memory (GiB)
t2.nano 1 0.5
t2.micro 1 1
t2.small 1 2
t2.medium 2 4
t2.large 2 8
t2.xlarge 4 16
t2.2xlarge 8 32
t3.nano 2 0.5
t3.micro 2 1
t3.small 2 2
t3.medium 2 4
t3.large 2 8
t3.xlarge 4 16
t3.2xlarge 8 32

For more information about the hardware specifications for each Amazon EC2 instance type, see Amazon EC2 Instance Types.

Burstable Performance Instance Requirements

The following are the requirements for these instances:

  • You must launch these instances using an HVM AMI and an Amazon EBS volume as the root device. For more information, see Amazon EC2 Root Device Volume.

  • You must launch T3 instances using an AMI with ENA and NVMe drivers. For more information, see Release Notes.

  • These instances are available as On-Demand Instances, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances, but not as Scheduled Instances or Dedicated Instances. They are also not supported on a Dedicated Host. For more information, see Instance Purchasing Options.

  • There is a limit on the total number of instances that you can launch in an AWS Region, and there are additional limits on some instance types. If you need more instances, request them using the Amazon EC2 Instance Request Form.

  • Ensure that the instance size you choose passes the minimum memory requirements of your operating system and applications. Operating systems with graphical user interfaces that consume significant memory and CPU resources (for example, Windows) might require a t2.micro or larger instance size for many use cases. As the memory and CPU requirements of your workload grow over time, you can scale to larger instance sizes of the same instance type, or another instance type.

Best Practices

Follow these best practices to get the maximum benefit from burstable performance instances.

  • Use a recommended AMI – Use an AMI that provides the required drivers. For more information, see Release Notes.

  • Turn on instance recovery – Create a CloudWatch alarm that monitors an EC2 instance and automatically recovers it if it becomes impaired for any reason. For more information, see Adding Recover Actions to Amazon CloudWatch Alarms.