AWS Launches M4 General Purpose Instances

Amazon introduced M4 instances, the latest powerhouse group of instances in the general purpose family. The instances will appeal to anything that sits at the intersection of current compute-optimized (C4 family) and memory-optimized (R3 family) instances. M4 is the balanced powerhouse.

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AWS Launches M4 General Purpose Instances
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a press conference in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Amazon introduced M4 instances for workloads requiring a balance of compute, memory, and network resources. The powerful general purpose instances come in five sizes and are a step up in terms of specifications from M3. M4 is also the first time that Enhanced Networking has been available to general purpose instances.

Amazon said the instances are suited for applications such as relational and in-memory databases, gaming servers, caching fleets and batch processing, as well as applications like SAP and Microsoft SharePoint.

Last April, Amazon said it wants to replace the enterprise data center. It also wants everything else and is casting a wide net. To do that, it needs to offer instances that match all needs. Amazon has compute-optimized (C4 family) and memory-optimized instances (R3 family) available. The M family is the porridge goldilocks chose: powerful but balanced.

M4 features dedicated bandwidth to Elastic Block Store and Enhanced Networking for higher packet per second (PPS) performance, low network jitter and low latency. Enhanced Networking delivers up to 4 times the packet rate of instances without Enhanced Networking, and consistent latency even under high network I/O.

Inbound marketing provider HubSpot is using the new instances. “M4 instances offer an optimal balance of compute and memory for our cluster, and the m4.10xlarge, with 40 vCPUs and 160 GiB of memory, will allow us to significantly reduce our cluster size while driving down costs through better hardware utilization,” said Whitney Sorenson, Vice President of Platform Infrastructure at HubSpot in a release.

The M4 instances use a custom Intel Haswell processor optimized for EC2. Intel also designed custom Xeon processors for Amazon Web Services to power C4. M4 processors run at a base clock rate of 2.4 GHz and can go as high as 3.0 GHz with Intel “Turbo Boost”, according to Amazon. C4 processors run at base speed of 2.9 GHz, but with Turbo boost can go up to 3.5 GHz.

AWS also lowered on-demand and one year reserved Instance pricing for the M3 and C4 instances by 5 percent in several regions as part of the M4 launch.

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