Instance Types and Architectures
What happened to the original instance type?
The original instance type is still available. It is called the small instance (m1.small) and it has the same technical specifications.
Will the original instance type be retired soon?
There are no plans to retire the original instance type.
If I do not specify an instance type at launch, what type of instance will I get?
You will get a m1.small Amazon EC2 instance type.
Does my instance limit apply to all instance types or is there a separate limit for each type?
The instance limit applies to the sum of all instances, regardless of type. There is no separate instance limit per type.
Can I mix instance types, or do I have to use the same type for all of my instances?
You can launch any combination of instance types. Choose the instance types that have the most appropriate memory, CPU, and storage for each function within your application.
How do I select the right instance type?
Amazon EC2 instances are grouped into two families: standard and High-CPU. Standard instances have memory to CPU ratios suitable for most general purpose applications; High-CPU instances have proportionally more CPU resources than memory (RAM) and are well suited for compute-intensive applications. When selecting instance types, you might want to use less powerful instance types for your web server instances and more powerful instance types for your database instances. Additionally, you might want to run CPU instance types for CPU-intensive data processing tasks.
For most applications, the standard instance types are appropriate. These instance types include the small instance (m1.small), large instance (m1.large), and extra large instance (m1.xlarge). High-CPU instances are well suited for compute-intensive applications such as rendering, search indexing, and computational analysis. The High-CPU instance types are the High-CPU medium instance (c1.medium) and the High-CPU extra large instance (c1.xlarge). For more information, refer to Instance Types.
One of the advantages of Amazon EC2 is that you pay by the instance hour, which makes it convenient and inexpensive to test the performance of your application on different instance families and types. One good way to determine the most appropriate instance family and instance type is to launch test instances and benchmark your application.
When should I use High-CPU instance types (c1.medium and c1.xlarge)?
High-CPU instance types have a proportionately higher ratio of CPU to memory and are well suited for compute-intensive applications. To determine whether they are appropriate for you, launch an instance and benchmark your own application on different instance types and calculate which is most appropriate.
Which instance types are 32-bit and which are 64-bit?
The small (m1.small) and High-CPU medium (c1.medium) instances are 32-bit. The large (m1.large), extra large (m1.xlarge), and High-CPU extra large (c1.xlarge) instances are 64-bit.
Can I launch any AMI on any type of instance?
No. You must use 64-bit AMIs on large (m1.large), extra large (m1.xlarge) and High-CPU extra large (c1.xlarge) instances. You must use 32-bit AMIs on small (m1.small) and High-CPU medium (c1.medium) instances.
Can I use my own kernel?
Not at present. However, as of version 2008-02-01 of the Amazon EC2 API you can use any of the kernels published by Amazon EC2 or selected vendors.
Do I have to do anything special to bundle the large or extra large instances?
Make sure to use the latest AMI Tools.
Can I build an AMI that works on both 32-bit and 64-bit instances?
No, an AMI is either a 32-bit AMI or a 64-bit.
Can I run 32- bit applications on 64-bit AMIs?
You can run a 32-bit application on a 64-bit host if the Linux/UNIX kernel is compiled with IA32 emulation and the correct 32-bit libraries are available.
By default, the Amazon DomU Kernel has IA32 emulation enabled and there are many public AMIs that include pre-installed 32-bit libraries. If the library you require is not included with the AMI, you can install it using standard tools (e.g., yum).
How fast is the disk?
The large and extra large instances have higher and more consistent I/O performance than the original (small) instance.
The first write to any given block of the disk will be slower than subsequent writes. For more information, see Disk Performance Optimization
Can I RAID the spindles exposed on large and extra large instances?
Yes, you can use software RAID on top of the exposed spindles.
The initial RAID setup might take a long time. For more information, see Disk Performance Optimization