I am happy to announce a reduction in the On Demand and Reserved Instance (RI) prices for EC2's HI1 (First Generation High I/O Performance) instances in select AWS regions, effective December 1, 2013, along with availability in the form of Spot Instances
The HI1 instances feature 16 vCPUs (Virtual CPUs), 60.5 GiB of RAM, 2 TB of SSD-backed instance storage, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, including support for cluster placement groups. You can learn more about them in the blog post that I wrote when we launched this instance type late last year.
Price Reduction The On Demand prices for Linux and Windows instances have been reduced by 10% for HI1 instances in EU (Ireland) and Asia Pacific (Tokyo).This change takes effect on December 1, 2013.
We are also reducing Reserved Instance (RI) pricing for HI1 - Linux and Windows instances by 10% for HI1 instances in EU (Ireland) and Asia Pacific (Tokyo). New Reserved Instance prices will only apply to Reserved Instances purchases made on or after December 1.
Spot Instances You can now bid for HI1 instances on the Spot market in the US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland) and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions.
Late last month I gave you a sneak peak at our newest EC2 instance type, the I2. These instance types are available today, in four sizes across seven AWS regions.
The I2 instance type was designed to host I/O intensive workloads typically generated by relational databases, NoSQL databases, and transactional systems. The largest I2 instance type can deliver over 365K random reads per second and over 315K random writes per second, both measured with a block size of 4 KB. With four instance sizes, you can start small and scale up as your storage and I/O needs grow.
This is our second generation High I/O instance type, picking up where the HI1 instance left off. In comparison to the HI1 instance type, members of the I2 family offer faster processors, three additional instance sizes, a doubling of the amount of memory per vCPU, and 56% more SSD-based instance storage.
The Specs Here are the instance sizes and the associated specs:
Instance Storage (SSD)
1 x 800 GB
2 x 800 GB
4 x 800 GB
8 x 800 GB
The prices shown above are for On-Demand instances in the US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) regions; see the EC2 pricing page for full information.
The instances are available in On-Demand and Reserved form in the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), US West (Northern California), EU (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Asia Pacific (Sydney) regions.
I2 instances support Hardware Virtualization (HVM) AMIs only. In order to obtain the best I/O performance from these instances, you should use the Amazon Linux AMI2013.09.02 or any Linux AMI with a version 3.8 or newer kernel. Older versions of the kernel will exhibit lower I/O performance when used with I2 instances.
CPU Power Each vCPU (Virtual CPU) is a hardware hyperthread on an Intel E5-2670 v2 (Ivy Bridge) processor. The processor supports the AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions), along with Turbo Boost and NUMA.
NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) speeds access to main memory by optimizing for workloads where the majority of requests for a particular block of memory come from a single processor. By enabling processor affinity (asking the scheduler to tie a particular thread to one of the processors) and taking care to manage memory allocation according to prescribed rules, substantial performance gains are possible.
Enhanced Networking All four sizes of the I2 instance type benefit from our new Enhanced Networking feature. When you launch these instances inside of a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), you will enjoy low latency, low jitter, and the ability to move a very large number of packets per second (PPS). In order to take advantage of this important feature, you will need to use an HVM AMI with the proper drivers installed (read our documentation on Enabling Enhanced Networking to learn more).
The three smallest instance types also support EBS Optimization, with dedicated network throughput from the instance to Amazon EBS.
SSD Storage As you can see from the table above, the I2 instances include a copious amount of SSD storage, ranging from 800 gigabytes on the i2.xlarge all the way up to 6.4 terabytes on the i2.8xlarge.
The SSD storage now supports TRIM functionality, which improves performance when the SSD handles a series of successive write operations.
Go For Launch As I mentioned earlier, these instance types are available now in seven AWS regions and you can start to use them right now.
AWS Direct Connect makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS. Our customers use Direct Connect to reduce their network costs, increase throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections.
Connect Now Effective immediately, you can provision a single connection to any Direct Connect location in the United States and use it to access all four of the AWS Regions in the US (US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Northern California), US West (Oregon), and AWS GovCloud (US)). Data transferred between Regions flows over network infrastructure maintained by Amazon and does not flow across the public Internet.
If you have already used Direct Connect to create a dedicated connection, the new routing is already in effect. Our networking infrastructure now announces routes to the connection via the usual BGP announcements.
What You Get As a Direct Connect user, you will see a number of benefits from this change.
Cost Savings - One connection, to any AWS Region in the US, can potentially take the place of up to four existing connections. You will pay less for your network circuits and for Direct Connect, and the per GB data transfer cost is also lower.
Improved AWS Access - Your on-premises applications can now connect to the public endpoints of AWS services running in any of the AWS Regions in the US.
Enhanced Data Protection - Data transferred between the application and AWS will not flow across the public Internet.
Pricing This new feature is included in the cost of Direct Connect. You pay only for data transfer from the remote Regions to your Direct Connect Region. This data transfer is billed at the rate of $0.03/GB.
My colleague Nihar Bihani sent me a guest post to announce a new and often-requested feature for Amazon CloudFront.
CloudFront just added a geo-restriction feature to make it easier to restrict access to your content based on the geographic location of your viewers.
In early 2012 we published a tutorial that shows how to add geo-restriction logic to your web application using Amazon CloudFront’s private content feature in combination with a third party geo-location product. We’re making this process easier for you today by adding a feature that does geo-restriction at the edge locations and doesn’t require you to use a third-party geo-location product.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say that you’re an online video publisher and have rights to distribute a video to users in a single country. You therefore need a way to prevent users who aren’t in that country from accessing your video. You can now do this by using Amazon CloudFront’s geo-restriction feature and whitelisting the country where you’re allowed to distribute your video file. Then, CloudFront edge locations will first check the location of the viewer (based on their IP address) and only serve the video if the viewer’s IP address maps to the whitelisted country. CloudFront uses a geo-IP database behind the scene to map IP addresses to countries.
Here is another scenario. Say you’re a software company and need to restrict the download of your encrypted software product by users in certain territories because of licensing terms or regulations. In this case, you can configure a blacklist of countries using the Amazon CloudFront Management Console (or our API) so CloudFront edge locations don’t serve your content to any requests from one of your blacklisted countries.
We’ve added a new tab in the CloudFront Management Console called ‘Restrictions’ where you can first enable or disable Geo Restriction.
Once you enable the feature, you can select whether you want to configure a whitelist or blacklist of countries for your distribution. Then, you can select one or more countries from the list in the left hand box, and move those countries to the right hand box before you click the Yes, Edit button. That’s it! Once this configuration gets deployed to our worldwide edge locations (which takes a few minutes), the CloudFront edge locations will begin blocking users from certain countries based on your configuration.
For users that are blocked, CloudFront will serve an HTTP response of 403 (Forbidden). Learn more about geo-restriction with CloudFront by reading the CloudFront Developer Guide. You also have the ability to configure a custom error page with CloudFront for the 403 response so that you can serve a friendlier message to your users if you want. Learn more about Custom Error Pages.
The AWS Trusted Advisor monitors your AWS resources and provides you with advice for cost optimization, security, performance, and fault tolerance. The 31 checks performed by the Trusted Advisor will help you to monitor and improve your use of Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, Elastic Block Store, Amazon S3, Auto Scaling, IAM, the Relational Database Service (RDS), Route 53, and other AWS services.
Today we are improving the Trusted Advisor with support for weekly email notifications, an improved dashboard, and another check. Let's take a look at each new feature.
Email Notifications Trusted Advisor can now be configured to send weekly email updates (English or Japanese) to the Billing, Operations, and Security contacts associated with your account, as desired:
Improved Dashboard We have added additional information to the Trusted Advisor dashboard, while also making the navigation both cleaner and simpler:
Another Check The newest Trusted Advisor check looks for Standard EBS volumes that are potentially over-utilized. These volumes might benefit from the use of Provisioned IOPS.
Available Now The AWS Trusted Advisor is available to Business and Professional members of AWS Premium Support; the features outlined above are available today and you can start using them today.
You can watch this video to learn more about the Trusted Advisor:
I am pleased to announce that we are expanding the AWS footprint once again, with a new Region in Beijing, China. AWS customers will soon be able serve local customers in the area using this Region.
I made my first trip to China about four years ago. At that time I was impressed by the ambitious and energetic developers and entrepreneurs that I met. My subsequent trips to the area, with opportunities to present to and meet with representatives of both startups and enterprises, have only served to reinforce and expand what I saw.
We will start out with a limited preview, which will be made available to a select group of Chinese and multinational companies in early 2014.
Among the thousands of AWS customers in China are Qihu 360, Xiaomi, FunPlus Game, Mobotap, TCL, Hisense, Tiens, Kingsoft, Light in the Box, NQ mobile, Papaya mobile, Madhouse, DerbySoft, Tap4fun, DeNA China, Boyaa interactive, Huan.tv, and Sungy Mobile Limited. With applications ranging from social gaming to mobile, to security and biotech, many of these companies will participate in the limited preview of the AWS China Region.
This Region will allow China-based and multinational companies to make use of a broad collection of AWS services while remaining in compliance with China's legal and regulatory requirements. The following services will be available:
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)
Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)
Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR)
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC)
Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS)
Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)
Elastic Load Balancing
Amazon Simple Workflow (SWF)
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
AWS Storage Gateway
AWS Management Console
AWS Premium Support
We have been working with a number of local data center, bandwidth, and content delivery partners to bring this Region to life. Companies such as China Net Center and SINNET will provide the infrastructure, network services, and CDN services that are required to support the launch and operation of AWS technology services in China.
Our partner ecosystem in China is thriving! Consulting partners such as Cloudgo, Bamboo Cloud, Bamboo Technologies, ChinaNetCloud, and Hitachi Consulting (China) have already used AWS to build innovative solutions for their clients. Technology partners Neusoft, Madeira Cloud, and Trend Micro are creating equally innovative products and services. To learn more about the Amazon Partner Network (APN) and to see a complete list of partners, take a look at the APN Overview.
Our business model will be slightly different here than in the other AWS Regions. You will need to create an AWS account that is specific to the Region. We will be posting additional information on AWS China website as it becomes available.
I am pleased to announce that Kinesis is now available in public beta form, and that you can start using it today.
Here are a pair of re:Invent presentations that will tell you a lot more than I can. First, General Manager Ryan Waite introduces Kinesis:
Next, VP & Distinguished Engineer Marvin Theimer goes in to detail:
If you have invested in the creation of "golden" Linux images suitable for your on-premises environment, I have some good news for you.
We have extended our popular VM Import/Export feature with support for multiple Linux distributions and virtualization formats. You can import the golden images that you currently run in VMware, Xen, and Microsoft Hyper-V environments and launch the resulting AMIs (Amazon Machine Images). You can also export Linux images, just like you can do with Windows instances today.
Why Import? You can use this feature in a couple of different ways. If you have invested a lot of time and energy in the creation of a process for the generation, certification, and tracking of golden images, you can now leverage that effort as part of a full or partial migration to the AWS cloud.
You can also import images to the cloud as part of your disaster recovery plan, preferably before disaster strikes (there's a lot of data transfer involved, so advance planning will pay off in a shorter recovery time).
If you are planning to migrate existing applications and workloads to AWS, you can use VM Import to create Amazon EC2 instances from your VMs, leaving the existing software and setings within the VMs intact.
The Details We are launching with support for 64-bit Linux images in the following formats:
VMware - ESX and VMware Workstation VMDK.
Citrix Xen - VHD
Microsoft Hyper-V VHD
The images must use the Grub bootloader (the legacy version or the newer Grub 2) and a stock kernel. You should make sure that DHCP is enabled, and that any firewall rules (iptables or otherwise) will allow access to the instance once it is imported. The root filesystem must be in ext2, ext3, ext4, Btrfs, JFS, or XFS format; you can have /boot on a separate partition from /, but both must be located on the same disk.
We are supporting the following distributions and versions:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 - 6.5
Centos 5.1 - 6.5
Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.04, 13.10
Debian 6.0.0 - 6.0.8, 7.0.0 - 7.2.0
The import process produces an AMI in HVM format. It can be launched on the following EC2 instance types:
Once imported, the AMI resides in a particular AWS Region. You can use the Cross-Region AMI Copy feature to make copies in other Regions as needed.
Talk to Us As is the case with every new AWS feature, we are looking forward to your suggestions and your feedback in order to help us prioritize further development. Please feel free to leave comments on this blog post or in the EC2 forum.