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AWS Launches M4 General Purpose Instances For EC2

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Amazon today decided that there’s no better time than a late Thursday afternoon to announce a new instance type for its EC2 cloud computing service, and so the company today announced the launch of its new M4 general purpose instances for its EC2 cloud computing service.

These new instances, which will come in six sizes ranging from large to 10x large will be available side-by-side with AWS’s current line-up of M3 general purpose instances. Like the older M3 instances, the new M4 ones aim to provide developers with a balance between memory, networking speed and processing power. Amazon argues these new instances will work especially well for “relational and in-memory databases, gaming servers, caching fleets, batch processing, and business applications like SAP and Microsoft SharePoint.”

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M4 instances are optimized for use with Amazon’s EBS storage service and run new custom Intel Xeon Haswell processors the company specifically tuned for EC2. The 10x large size with 40 virtual CPUs and 160 GiB is also the largest general purpose type AWS currently offers (by a wide margin).

As Amazon’s Jeff Barr also notes, however, M4 instances will support for what Amazon calls enhanced networking for higher network I/O (up to 4x when compared to instances without this feature) and more consistent latency.

“M4 instances bring new capabilities to the General Purpose family through the use of a custom Intel Haswell processor and larger instance sizes,” said Amazon’s VP for EC 2 Matt Garman today. “We are also pleased to deliver even better network performance with dedicated bandwidth to Amazon EBS and Enhanced Networking, an Amazon EC2 feature that we are providing, for the first time, to General Purpose Instances. With these capabilities, M4 is one of our most powerful instance types and a terrific choice for workloads requiring a balance of compute, memory, and network resources.”

The new instances are now available in Amazon’s US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Northern California), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), Asia-Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions.

With today’s update, Amazon is also dropping the prices of its M3 instances and its more compute-focused C4 instances by 5 percent in a variety of regions. For on-demand instances, these price changes will go into effect retroactively on June 1 and today for reserved instances.