Amazon Launches AWS Nitro 2017 and AWS Bare Metal 2017


Amazon’s annual re:invent conference, the biggest cloud computing gathering of the year, has always been an opportunity for the industry to catch up with the latest in web services. But it also serves as a launch pad for Amazon’s new products.

The company did not disappoint this year, announcing a whole host of new releases including new virtualization architecture Nitro 2017 and Amazon Bare Metals 2017.

AWS Nitro 2017 is a c5 server that uses hardware virtualization and a new hypervisor called Nitro based on the KVM core kernel module. The Nitro is lightweight and aims to provide performance indistinguishable from base metal – a computer system in which a virtual machine is installed directly on hardware rather than within the host operating system.
Cloud Services Providers Raw HTML ModuleAWS’s VP for global infrastructure Peter Desantis says the company invested four years working on the new architecture that offloads networking, storage and management tasks from EC2 host servers to dedicated hardware.

In the early days of development, AWS used commercial off-the- shelf silicon but found that because it came with unnecessary generic functions, the overall cost of the hardware was too high. But since AWS acquired Israel-based Annapurna Labs, it started producing custom-made silicon cards in-house.

The Nitro uses a single root I/O virtualization interface for hardware virtualization of network and storage and a hypervisor based on the subset of KVM found in the Linux kernel. The hypervisor is optimized for the Nitro system, providing better isolation for workloads and therefore better security.

Desantis says that virtualization products previously launched by AWS contain the same components but that the company has been steadily improving their performance to pave the way for Nitro. The new Nitro is easier to use as it employs these technologies by default.

The overhead on Nitro is extremely low – typically less than 1%. Nitro's performance is close to bare metal.

Amazon’s new EC2 Bare Metal instances are bare metal servers which have no performance overhead. They provide direct access to the processor and memory of the underlying server. These instances are ideal for workloads that require access to hardware feature sets, such as Intel VT-x, or for applications that need to run in non-virtualized environments for licensing or support requirements. Bare metal EC2 will first be offered on i3 instances, but other instance types will offer the option in the future.