Experiments, Lessons Learned, Best Practices & Tutorials
The Amazon I2 Instance Type
Amazon has announced immediate availability of the I2 instance type, the next generation of Amazon EC2 High I/O instance and the best solution for transactional systems and high performance NoSQL databases such as Cassandra and MongoDB. I2 instances feature the latest generation of Intel Ivy Bridge processors, the Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2. Each virtual CPU (vCPU) is a hardware hyperthread from an Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 (Ivy Bridge) processor. Its features, price and availability can be combined to derive a performance-oriented usage and to explore new use cases.
Price and Availability
I2 instances are available in four sizes as listed in the table below.
Instance Storage SSD (GB)
Linux On-Demand Price* ($/hr)
1 x 800
2 x 800
4 x 800
8 x 800
Support for Enhanced Networking
I2 instances are the best solution for setups that require high packet rates because they support Enhanced Networking that provisions very high packet-per-second performance. The enhanced networking capabilities can be implemented using Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV).
SR-IOV is a device-virtualization method that provides higher I/O performance and lower CPU utilization than traditional implementations. To take complete advantage of Enhanced Networking, simply launch the appropriate AMI on a supported instance type in a VPC that comes free of cost.
I2 instances currently support only Hardware Virtualization (HVM) Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). That’s because the performance impact of paravirtualization does not make sense with the high throughput capabilities of paravirtualization.
Performance on SSD
I2 Instances are the next generation of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) storage-optimized high I/O instances based on solid-state disk (SSD) technology. They’re capable of delivering more than 365,000 random read Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) across eight 800GB SSD storage volumes.
Comparing I2 Instances to HI1 instances
Compared to HI1 instances, I2 instances provide faster processors, three additional instance sizes, double the memory-per-vCPU and a 56% increase in SSD-based instance storage. i2.xlarge, i2.2xlarge and i2.4xlarge support EBS-optimization and deliver dedicated throughput between Amazon EC2 and Amazon EBS.
An Intel(R) Xeon(R) E5-2670 v2 processor (formerly code-named Ivy Bridge-EP) clubbed with SSD technology provides enhanced networking with lower latency, low jitter and very high packet-per-second performance.
I2 instances are well suited for transactional systems, high-performance NoSQL databases like Cassandra and MongoDB, and other applications that benefit from very high disk I/O performance.