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What is involved in choosing the right EC2 instances for AWS?

By Justin Stoltzfus | Last updated: April 5, 2017
Made Possible By Turbonomic

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most popular ways for companies to get involved in a cloud, hardware virtualization and/or distributed networking system. For many companies, it provides a road map when in-house IT staff are less able to build their own systems out of open-source tools or otherwise pursue a more do-it-yourself solution. However, although a lot of the build in AWS is “done for you” there are important choices to be made in the platform.

One of those is choosing the right EC2 instances.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) helps to customize cloud capacity. It's a kind of templating resource for companies to figure out how to scale projects to their needs.

It's important for companies to choose the right EC2 instances because there are so many different custom templates for resource allocation and performance strategy.

Amazon provides groups of EC2 instances that include general-purpose instances, compute-optimized and memory-optimized instances, storage-optimized instances and what the company calls “micro instances,” which are smaller and low-cost options with less central processing power. Micro-instances may ration CPU over time, and are generally good for projects such as low-traffic websites.

In choosing between other types of EC2 instances, for example, the general-purpose EC2 types, companies have to look at that delicate interplay of CPU, memory and storage capacity. Companies can see how choosing an instance that's more optimized toward either compute, memory or storage can help them to match processes to specific tasks and workloads.

The reasons that this is important involve efficiency and cost. Companies don't want to be struggling along on a cloud platform that’s clunky and unoptimized, that squanders virtual resources or fails to anticipate things like peak traffic cycles.

The build of the cloud system is important. Companies want every dollar spent in the cloud to produce return on investment. They want low latency and a lack of bottlenecks and silos. They want to be able to take advantage of all of the processing power and other resources that a specific cloud setup provides.

By offering so many types of EC2 instances and defining them to clients, Amazon Web Services offers a lot of customization, combined with critical guidance for companies that don't have the technical know-how to optimize their own cloud systems. Along with evaluating options like standalone add-on applications, multi-cloud deployments, and the integration of existing legacy systems, companies can manipulate their web platforms through choosing a particular EC2 instance and get more out of their major move toward modernization that they have invested in when they start to enter the cloud.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus | Contributor, Reviewer

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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.

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