How the new AWS and AMD Collaboration Plans to Support Compute-Intensive Workloads


The general availability of AWS C5a instances powered by 2nd Gen AMD EPYCâ„¢ processors aims to provide developers high-performance processing services for their compute-intensive workloads.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of its C5a instances this week, which is the sixth instance of the Amazon EC2 family. Powered by 2nd Gen Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) EPYCâ„¢ (Rome) processors, the C5a instances are designed for intensive workloads and are available in eight sizes, starting from 2 virtual CPUs with 4 Gigibyte (GiB) RAM up to 96 virtual CPUs with 192 GiB of RAM.

Grabbing the attention in an Intel dominated server chip marketOpens a new window , the AMD 2nd Gen AMD EPYCâ„¢ processors are based on Zen 2 microarchitecture, which runs at a frequency up to 3.3 GHz power and delivers the highest performing x86 servers for modern data centers. Using the high core counts of the processor, the C5a instances offer the lowest cost per x86 virtual CPU in the Amazon EC2 family.

David Brown, Vice President, Amazon EC2, AWS shares, “With the availability of Amazon EC2 C5a instances based on the 2nd gen AMD EPYC™ processors, customers now have a new option that enables better performance and cost for a variety of compute-intensive workloads.”

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What is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) C5?

With 76% of enterprises currently using public cloud giant AWS, it is a clear indication that enterprises are more than open to the public cloud and see the benefits of working with AWS. A recent Flexera surveyOpens a new window also revealed that enterprises deployed more than 100 VMs in AWS cloud, which was 47% in 2019 compared to 51% in 2020. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a service that lets its users rent virtual computers to run their own applications, eliminating the need for hardware. Amazon EC2Opens a new window is equipped with virtual operating systems, networking capacity, and hardware components. Developers can use EC2 to launch several customizable, virtual servers in a single physical hardware. Due to benefits such as auto-scaling, higher reliability, budget-friendly, and elasticity, AWS EC2 instances have more than a million customers. Based on its configurations and advantages, AWS EC2 instances are categorized as:

  • · General-purpose (M5, M4, M3)
  • · Compute-optimized (C5, C4, C3)
  • · Memory-optimized (X1e, X1, R4, R3)
  • · Storage optimized (H1, I3, D2)
  • · Accelerated computing (P3, P2, G3, F1)

Amazon EC2 C5 instances are known for running compute-intensive workloads such as batch processing, distributed analytics, high-performance computing, ad serving, video encoding, multiplayer gaming, and much more. According to Amazon, the EC2 C5a instances cost 10% lower than other existing services, and offer various options to balance instance mix with a view to cost and performance optimizationOpens a new window . It is currently available across the US East, US West, Europe, and the Asia Pacific regions.

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AWS and AMD’s Joint Efforts to Deliver Powerful Cloud Experience

For the last 18 months, AWS has partnered with AMD to develop a host of cloud instances powered by custom 1st generation AMD EPYC™™ processors that were designed for both general purpose and memory-intensive workloads. The new EC2 C5a instances developed for compute-intensive workloads leverages the processor’s high core count. AMD’s x86 processors are based on a 7-nanometer architecture that provides 23% more instructions per clock than 1st generation processors.

Channy Yun, Principal Developer Advocate for AWS in a blog post explainsOpens a new window , “C5a instances are variants of Amazon EC2’s compute optimized (C5) instance family, and provide high-performance processing at 10% lower cost over comparable instances. C5a are fully-compatible 64-bit x86 and managed by the same Nitro platform used across Amazon EC2.”

“The 2nd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors deliver the levels of performance required for our customers to confidently bring compute-focused workloads to the cloud,” saidOpens a new window Forrest Norrod, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data Center and Embedded Solutions Group, AMD. “With the new Amazon EC2 C5a instances, we are strategically expanding our presence and capabilities with AWS. Even more importantly, together we are helping to continuously improve the end user cloud experience.”

The C5a instances support many AWS resources such as AWS Batch, Amazon EMR, Elastic Container Service and Elastic Kubernetes Service, and as Yun adds in his blog, the disk variants of C5a instances—C5ad— that come with local NVMe instance storage and bare-metal variants( the C5an.metal and C5adn.metal), are coming soon.

The deepening partnership of AWS and AMD indicates both the companies’ interest in expanding their presence in the IT infrastructure market, and offering a seamless user experience.

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