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Remember the turbo button on PCs? New AWS instance has one for CPU burst

Yes, we know it slowed old kit - but not in Amazon's case

IBM personal computer money shot

Amazon Web Services has unveiled a cheaper EC2 instance type that's geared for running small workloads at low cost. Crucially, it can temporarily ramp up compute performance when it's really needed.

The cloud giant reckons its new T2 instances provide affordable options for users running less-demanding applications, such as low-traffic websites, small databases and remote desktops.

The instances allow users to run single or dual CPU virtual machines (VMs) on shared hardware powered by 3.3GHz Xeon processors; these VMs automatically increase performance by redeeming banked "CPU Credits", which grant access to more compute oomph for one-minute bursts.

Amazon said the CPU credit system allows the instances to operate at low performance for hours at a time with the ability to burst into a higher speed for short periods of time when needed. Credits are banked when no burst mode is required, and redeemed over a 24-hour period.

The T2 family will have three instance options: a "micro" option with a single vCPU, 1GB of RAM and six CPU credits accrued per hour at a cost of $9.50 per month ($0.013 per hour); a "small" instance with 2GB RAM and 12 hourly credits at $19 monthly; and a "medium" configuration with two vCPUs, 4GB RAM and 24 credits at a cost of $38 monthly.

"Many interesting compute workloads follow a similar pattern, with modest demands for continuous compute power and occasional needs for a lot more," wrote AWS evangelist Jeff Barr.

"Many of these workloads are cost-sensitive as well. Organizations often deploy hundreds or thousands of remote desktops and build environments at a time; saving some money on each deployment can have a significant difference in the overall cost."

The new line will compete with the low-end offerings from AWS rivals such as Google Cloud's shared core compute engine instances and Microsoft Azure's low-cost instances.

The cloud giants have found themselves in a price war as of late, with instance and storage costs being cut. ®

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