General purpose instances - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

General purpose instances

General purpose instances provide a balance of compute, memory, and networking resources, and can be used for a wide range of workloads.

A1 instances

These instances are ideally suited for scale-out workloads that are supported by the Arm ecosystem. These instances are well-suited for the following:

  • Web servers

  • Containerized microservices

Bare metal instances, such as a1.metal, provide your applications with direct access to physical resources of the host server, such as processors and memory.

For more information, see AWS Graviton Processor and Amazon EC2 A1 Instances.

M5 and M5a instances

These instances provide an ideal cloud infrastructure, offering a balance of compute, memory, and networking resources for a broad range of applications that are deployed in the cloud. They are well-suited for the following:

  • Small and midsize databases

  • Data processing tasks that require additional memory

  • Caching fleets

  • Backend servers for SAP, Microsoft SharePoint, cluster computing, and other enterprise applications

For more information, see Amazon EC2 M5 Instances.

Bare metal instances, such as m5.metal, provide your applications with direct access to physical resources of the host server, such as processors and memory.

For more information, see Amazon EC2 M5 Instances.

M6g and M6gd instances

These instances are powered by AWS Graviton2 processors and deliver balanced compute, memory, and networking for a broad range a general purpose workloads. They are well suited for the following:

  • Application servers

  • Microservices

  • Gaming servers

  • Midsize data stores

  • Caching fleets

Bare metal instances, such as m6g.metal, provide your applications with direct access to physical resources of the host server, such as processors and memory.

For more information, see Amazon EC2 M6g Instances.

T2, T3, T3a, and T4g instances

These instances provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst to a higher level when required by your workload. An Unlimited instance can sustain high CPU performance for any period of time whenever required. For more information, see Burstable performance instances. They are well-suited for the following:

  • Websites and web applications

  • Code repositories

  • Development, build, test, and staging environments

  • Microservices

For more information, see Amazon EC2 T2 Instances, Amazon EC2 T3 Instances, and Amazon EC2 T4g Instances.

Hardware specifications

The following is a summary of the hardware specifications for general purpose instances.

Instance type Default vCPUs Memory (GiB)
a1.medium 1 2
a1.large 2 4
a1.xlarge 4 8
a1.2xlarge 8 16
a1.4xlarge 16 32
a1.metal 16 32
m4.large 2 8
m4.xlarge 4 16
m4.2xlarge 8 32
m4.4xlarge 16 64
m4.10xlarge 40 160
m4.16xlarge 64 256
m5.large 2 8
m5.xlarge 4 16
m5.2xlarge 8 32
m5.4xlarge 16 64
m5.8xlarge 32 128
m5.12xlarge 48 192
m5.16xlarge 64 256
m5.24xlarge 96 384
m5.metal 96 384
m5a.large 2 8
m5a.xlarge 4 16
m5a.2xlarge 8 32
m5a.4xlarge 16 64
m5a.8xlarge 32 128
m5a.12xlarge 48 192
m5a.16xlarge 64 256
m5a.24xlarge 96 384
m5ad.large 2 8
m5ad.xlarge 4 16
m5ad.2xlarge 8 32
m5ad.4xlarge 16 64
m5ad.8xlarge 32 128
m5ad.12xlarge 48 192
m5ad.16xlarge 64 256
m5ad.24xlarge 96 384
m5d.large 2 8
m5d.xlarge 4 16
m5d.2xlarge 8 32
m5d.4xlarge 16 64
m5d.8xlarge 32 128
m5d.12xlarge 48 192
m5d.16xlarge 64 256
m5d.24xlarge 96 384
m5d.metal 96 384
m5dn.large 2 8
m5dn.xlarge 4 16
m5dn.2xlarge 8 32
m5dn.4xlarge 16 64
m5dn.8xlarge 32 128
m5dn.12xlarge 48 192
m5dn.16xlarge 64 256
m5dn.24xlarge 96 384
m5n.large 2 8
m5n.xlarge 4 16
m5n.2xlarge 8 32
m5n.4xlarge 16 64
m5n.8xlarge 32 128
m5n.12xlarge 48 192
m5n.16xlarge 64 256
m5n.24xlarge 96 384
m6g.medium 1 4
m6g.large 2 8
m6g.xlarge 4 16
m6g.2xlarge 8 32
m6g.4xlarge 16 64
m6g.8xlarge 32 128
m6g.12xlarge 48 192
m6g.16xlarge 64 256
m6g.metal 64 256
m6gd.medium 1 4
m6gd.large 2 8
m6gd.xlarge 4 16
m6gd.2xlarge 8 32
m6gd.4xlarge 16 64
m6gd.8xlarge 32 128
m6gd.12xlarge 48 192
m6gd.16xlarge 64 256
m6gd.metal 64 256
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
t3a.nano 2 0.5
t3a.micro 2 1
t3a.small 2 2
t3a.medium 2 4
t3a.large 2 8
t3a.xlarge 4 16
t3a.2xlarge 8 32
t4g.nano 2 0.5
t4g.micro 2 1
t4g.small 2 2
t4g.medium 2 4
t4g.large 2 8
t4g.xlarge 4 16
t4g.2xlarge 8 32

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

For more information about specifying CPU options, see Optimizing CPU options.

Instance performance

EBS-optimized instances enable you to get consistently high performance for your EBS volumes by eliminating contention between Amazon EBS I/O and other network traffic from your instance. Some general purpose instances are EBS-optimized by default at no additional cost. For more information, see Amazon EBS–optimized instances.

Some general purpose instance types provide the ability to control processor C-states and P-states on Linux. C-states control the sleep levels that a core can enter when it is inactive, while P-states control the desired performance (in CPU frequency) from a core. For more information, see Processor state control for your EC2 instance.

Network performance

You can enable enhanced networking on supported instance types to provide lower latencies, lower network jitter, and higher packet-per-second (PPS) performance. Most applications do not consistently need a high level of network performance, but can benefit from access to increased bandwidth when they send or receive data. For more information, see Enhanced networking on Linux.

The following is a summary of network performance for general purpose instances that support enhanced networking.

Instance type Network performance Enhanced networking
t2.nano | t2.micro | t2.small | t2.medium | t2.large | t2.xlarge | t2.2xlarge Up to 1 Gbps Not supported
t3.nano | t3.micro | t3.small | t3.medium | t3.large | t3.xlarge | t3.2xlarge | t3a.nano | t3a.micro | t3a.small | t3a.medium | t3a.large | t3a.xlarge | t3a.2xlarge | t4g.nano | t4g.micro | t4g.small | t4g.medium | t4g.large | t4g.xlarge | t4g.2xlarge Up to 5 Gbps † ENA
m4.large Moderate Intel 82599 VF
m4.xlarge | m4.2xlarge | m4.4xlarge High Intel 82599 VF
a1.4xlarge and smaller | a1.metal | m5.4xlarge and smaller | m5a.8xlarge and smaller | m5ad.8xlarge and smaller | m5d.4xlarge and smaller | m6g.4xlarge and smaller | m6gd.4xlarge and smaller Up to 10 Gbps † ENA
m4.10xlarge 10 Gbps Intel 82599 VF
m5.8xlarge | m5a.12xlarge | m5ad.12xlarge | m5d.8xlarge 10 Gbps ENA
m5.12xlarge | m5a.16xlarge | m5ad.16xlarge | m5d.12xlarge | m6g.8xlarge | m6gd.8xlarge 12 Gbps ENA
m5.16xlarge | m5a.24xlarge | m5ad.24xlarge | m5d.16xlarge | m6g.12xlarge | m6gd.12xlarge 20 Gbps ENA
m5dn.4xlarge and smaller | m5n.4xlarge and smaller Up to 25 Gbps † ENA
m4.16xlarge | m5.24xlarge | m5.metal | m5d.24xlarge | m5d.metal | m5dn.8xlarge | m5n.8xlarge | m6g.16xlarge | m6g.metal | m6gd.16xlarge | m6gd.metal 25 Gbps ENA
m5dn.12xlarge | m5n.12xlarge 50 Gbps ENA
m5dn.16xlarge | m5n.16xlarge 75 Gbps ENA
m5dn.24xlarge | m5n.24xlarge 100 Gbps ENA

† These instances use a network I/O credit mechanism to allocate network bandwidth to instances based on average bandwidth utilization. They accrue credits when their bandwidth is below their baseline bandwidth, and can use these credits when they perform network data transfers. For more information, open a support case and ask about baseline bandwidth for the specific instance types that you are interested in.

SSD I/O performance

If you use a Linux AMI with kernel version 4.4 or later and use all the SSD-based instance store volumes available to your instance, you get the IOPS (4,096 byte block size) performance listed in the following table (at queue depth saturation). Otherwise, you get lower IOPS performance.

Instance Size 100% Random Read IOPS Write IOPS
m5ad.large * 30,000 15,000
m5ad.xlarge *

59,000

29,000

m5ad.2xlarge *

117,000

57,000

m5ad.4xlarge *

234,000

114,000

m5ad.8xlarge

466,666

233,333

m5ad.12xlarge

700,000

340,000

m5ad.16xlarge

933,333

466,666

m5ad.24xlarge

1,400,000

680,000

m5d.large *

30,000

15,000

m5d.xlarge *

59,000

29,000

m5d.2xlarge *

117,000

57,000

m5d.4xlarge *

234,000

114,000

m5d.8xlarge

466,666

233,333

m5d.12xlarge

700,000

340,000

m5d.16xlarge

933,333

466,666

m5d.24xlarge

1,400,000

680,000

m5d.metal

1,400,000

680,000

m5dn.large *

30,000

15,000

m5dn.xlarge *

59,000

29,000

m5dn.2xlarge *

117,000

57,000

m5dn.4xlarge *

234,000

114,000

m5dn.8xlarge

466,666

233,333

m5dn.12xlarge

700,000

340,000

m5dn.16xlarge 933,333

466,666

m5dn.24xlarge

1,400,000

680,000

m6gd.medium 13,438 5,625
m6gd.large 26,875 11,250
m6gd.xlarge 53,750 22,500
m6gd.2xlarge 107,500 45,000
m6gd.4xlarge 215,000 90,000
m6gd.8xlarge 430,000 180,000
m6gd.12xlarge 645,000 270,000
m6gd.16xlarge 860,000 360,000
m6gd.metal 860,000 360,000

* For these instances, you can get up to the specified performance.

As you fill the SSD-based instance store volumes for your instance, the number of write IOPS that you can achieve decreases. This is due to the extra work the SSD controller must do to find available space, rewrite existing data, and erase unused space so that it can be rewritten. This process of garbage collection results in internal write amplification to the SSD, expressed as the ratio of SSD write operations to user write operations. This decrease in performance is even larger if the write operations are not in multiples of 4,096 bytes or not aligned to a 4,096-byte boundary. If you write a smaller amount of bytes or bytes that are not aligned, the SSD controller must read the surrounding data and store the result in a new location. This pattern results in significantly increased write amplification, increased latency, and dramatically reduced I/O performance.

SSD controllers can use several strategies to reduce the impact of write amplification. One such strategy is to reserve space in the SSD instance storage so that the controller can more efficiently manage the space available for write operations. This is called over-provisioning. The SSD-based instance store volumes provided to an instance don't have any space reserved for over-provisioning. To reduce write amplification, we recommend that you leave 10% of the volume unpartitioned so that the SSD controller can use it for over-provisioning. This decreases the storage that you can use, but increases performance even if the disk is close to full capacity.

For instance store volumes that support TRIM, you can use the TRIM command to notify the SSD controller whenever you no longer need data that you've written. This provides the controller with more free space, which can reduce write amplification and increase performance. For more information, see Instance store volume TRIM support.

Instance features

The following is a summary of features for general purpose instances:

EBS only NVMe EBS Instance store Placement group

A1

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

M4

Yes

No

No

Yes

M5

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

M5a

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

M5ad

No

Yes

NVMe *

Yes

M5d

No

Yes

NVMe *

Yes

M5dn

No

Yes

NVMe *

Yes

M5n

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

M6g

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

M6gd

No

Yes

NVMe *

Yes

T2

Yes

No

No

No

T3

Yes

Yes

No

No

T3a

Yes

Yes

No

No

T4g

Yes

Yes

No

No

* The root device volume must be an Amazon EBS volume.

For more information, see the following:

Release notes

  • M5, M5d, and T3 instances feature a 3.1 GHz Intel Xeon Platinum 8000 series processor from either the first generation (Skylake-SP) or second generation (Cascade Lake).

  • M5a, M5ad, and T3a instances feature a 2.5 GHz AMD EPYC 7000 series processor.

  • A1 instances feature a 2.3 GHz AWS Graviton processor based on 64-bit Arm architecture.

  • M6g and M6gd instances feature an AWS Graviton2 processor based on 64-bit Arm architecture.

  • T4g instances feature an AWS Graviton2 processor based on 64-bit Arm architecture.

  • M4, M5, M5a, M5ad, M5d, t2.large and larger, and t3.large and larger, and t3a.large and larger instance types require 64-bit HVM AMIs. They have high-memory, and require a 64-bit operating system to take advantage of that capacity. HVM AMIs provide superior performance in comparison to paravirtual (PV) AMIs on high-memory instance types. In addition, you must use an HVM AMI to take advantage of enhanced networking.

  • Instances built on the Nitro System have the following requirements:

    The following Linux AMIs meet these requirements:

    • Amazon Linux 2

    • Amazon Linux AMI 2018.03

    • Ubuntu 14.04 (with linux-aws kernel) or later

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 or later

    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2 or later

    • CentOS 7.4.1708 or later

    • FreeBSD 11.1 or later

    • Debian GNU/Linux 9 or later

  • Instances with an AWS Graviton Processor have the following requirements:

    • Use an AMI for the 64-bit Arm architecture.

    • Support booting through UEFI with ACPI tables and support ACPI hot-plug of PCI devices.

    The following Linux AMIs meet these requirements:

    • Amazon Linux 2 (64-bit Arm)

    • Ubuntu 16.04 or later (64-bit Arm)

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 or later (64-bit Arm)

    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 or later (64-bit Arm)

    • Debian 10 or later (64-bit Arm)

  • Instances built on the Nitro System support a maximum of 28 attachments, including network interfaces, EBS volumes, and NVMe instance store volumes. For more information, see Nitro System volume limits.

  • Launching a bare metal instance boots the underlying server, which includes verifying all hardware and firmware components. This means that it can take 20 minutes from the time the instance enters the running state until it becomes available over the network.

  • To attach or detach EBS volumes or secondary network interfaces from a bare metal instance requires PCIe native hotplug support. Amazon Linux 2 and the latest versions of the Amazon Linux AMI support PCIe native hotplug, but earlier versions do not. You must enable the following Linux kernel configuration options:

    CONFIG_HOTPLUG_PCI_PCIE=y CONFIG_PCIEASPM=y
  • Bare metal instances use a PCI-based serial device rather than an I/O port-based serial device. The upstream Linux kernel and the latest Amazon Linux AMIs support this device. Bare metal instances also provide an ACPI SPCR table to enable the system to automatically use the PCI-based serial device. The latest Windows AMIs automatically use the PCI-based serial device.

  • Instances built on the Nitro System should have system-logind or acpid installed to support clean shutdown through API requests.

  • There is a limit on the total number of instances that you can launch in a Region, and there are additional limits on some instance types. For more information, see How many instances can I run in Amazon EC2? in the Amazon EC2 FAQ.