AWS Launches Supercharged C4 Cloud Instances

Cloud provider targets new workloads with powerful instances.

Jason Verge

January 12, 2015

2 Min Read
AWS Launches Supercharged C4 Cloud Instances
Rendering of an Amazon campus currently under construction in Seattle’s Denny Triangle neighborhood (Image:

Amazon Web Services has introduced new gigantic cloud instances for compute-heavy workloads. C4 is the compute-optimized family of instances on Amazon EC2 available in seven regions for now, with more regions coming in the near future.

The instances are based on the Intel Xeon E5-2666 v3 (code name Haswell) processor. Intel customized its Xeon E5 chips specifically for Amazon to support the C4 instances.

Amazon announcement follows a similar move by one of its biggest rivals in cloud services, Microsoft Azure. Last week, Microsoft announced availability of G-series instances on its cloud, which go up to 32 cores, 448 GiB of RAM, and 6,596 GB of local SSD storage. Microsoft's high-octane instances were initially rolled out in the cloud's West US region only.

New Instances Meant to Attract New Workload Types to AWS

Amazon pre-announced the new instances late last year at its re:Invent conference. The new capabilities make AWS more relevant for several use cases.

“Our customers continue to increase the sophistication and intensity of the compute-bound workloads that they run on the cloud,” AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Bar wrote in November. The instances provide higher packet per second performance, lower network jitter, and lower network latency using Enhanced Networking. Enhanced networking capabilities using single root I/O virtualization.

Some examples of the types of workloads Amazon's new cloud instances are targeted toward include applications such as top-end website hosting, online gaming, simulation, and risk analysis.

The instances complement SSD-Backed Elastic Block Storage, with EBS optimization enabled by default. SSD-Backed EBS also targets high-end performance use cases.

The specs and pricing for the new C4 family (source: AWS Blog)


The specs and pricing for the new C4 family (Source: AWS Blog)

The largest c4.8xlarge has a 36 virtual CPU count, 60 GiB of RAM and 10 Gbps network performance. A user also has the ability to fine-tune the processor’s performance and power management (which can affect maximum Turbo frequencies) using P-state and C-state control.

C-state is used to tune your application for better performance by managing the power consumption on a per-core basis. P-state is control over the desired performance (CPU clock frequency). More info on how these instances can be optimized can be found on the AWS blog

Before rolling out the new monster cloud instances, AWS kicked off 2015 by added some new cloud features, including early warning spot instance termination and updates to its GovCloud.

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