Amazon has introduced new M4 virtual machine instances to its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform, offering customers a significant boost with more virtual CPUs and larger memory capacities than its existing general purpose instances.
Available now, the next generation of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) general purpose instances are powered by custom-built Intel Xeon E5-2676 v3 processors and boast enhanced networking capabilities.
They are available in larger, more capable sizes that make them well suited for a wide variety of applications, including relational and in-memory databases, gaming servers and business applications like SAP and Microsoft SharePoint, according to Amazon.
The custom Intel Xeon E5-2676 v3 chip that drives the new instances runs at a base clock rate of 2.4GHz and can ramp up as high as 3GHz with Intel Turbo Boost. The full specifications of these have not been detailed but, as the largest M4 instance supports 40 virtual CPUs, it seems likely that this is a 10-core chip.
The move follows Amazon's use of a different custom Xeon chip to drive its new heavy-duty C4 instances earlier this year.
The five new M4 instances start with m4.large, which has just two virtual CPUs and 8GB of memory, going up the m4.10xlarge which is the 40 virtual CPU instance with 160GB of memory.
This compares with the largest instance of the previous generation, the m3.2xlarge, which has eight virtual CPUs and 30GB of memory. Full details of all the instances can be found on Amazon's web site.
Unlike the existing M3 instances, the new ones are configured to use Amazon's Elastic Block Store service by default, rather than local storage, with dedicated network capacity provided to support this.
In addition, the M4 instances feature Enhanced Networking for the first time in general purpose instances. This delivers up to four times the packet rate when compared with instances without Enhanced Networking, while ensuring consistent latency even when under high network traffic conditions.
"M4 instances bring new capabilities to the general purpose family through the use of a custom Intel Haswell processor and larger instance sizes," said AWS vice president for EC2, Matt Garman.
"We are also pleased to deliver even better network performance with dedicated bandwidth to Amazon EBS and Enhanced Networking, an Amazon EC2 feature that we are providing, for the first time, to general purpose Instances.
"With these capabilities, M4 is one of our most powerful instance types and a terrific choice for workloads requiring a balance of compute, memory and network resources."
As part of the same launch, AWS is lowering the prices of some M3 and C4 instances, specifically the On-Demand and One Year Reserved pricing, which has been reduced by five percent in the US East, US West, EU Central, EU West and the Asia Pacific Tokyo and Sydney regions.
The M4 instances are available now in almost every AWS region, including EU Central and EU West.
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