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What's the best use for EC2 Dedicated Instances?

We're exploring AWS instances and need the best option for mission-critical workloads. What are the benefits and drawbacks of EC2 Dedicated Instances?

One benefit of cloud computing is agility. A cloud user can provision and spin up new resources or services on...

demand and then tear them down when the work is complete. Users get what they need when they need it -- and they only pay for what they use.

But agility comes at a price. On-demand cloud resources can rack up costs over time. Multi-tenant resources and services -- shared between cloud users from different business units -- often lack the visibility and control necessary for critical workloads. Public cloud providers like AWS provide Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Dedicated Instances for on-demand resources. These dedicated resources enable greater control over a cloud environment.

When to use EC2 Dedicated Instances

AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Dedicated Instances run within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and use hardware dedicated to a single AWS account. IT teams run instances from that account on the same hardware as Dedicated Instances. This means they can run dedicated and non-dedicated EC2 instances on the same hardware but the instances belong to the individual. EC2 Dedicated Instances isolate EC2 workloads more than conventional multi-tenant cloud environments. EC2 Dedicated Instances create additional workload isolation that can improve security or performance and meet certain regulatory or service-level agreement requirements.

Instances and VPCs launched with dedicated attributes behave or interact differently than default settings. Some AWS feature sets or services may not work properly with dedicated tenancy. For example, an Elastic Block Store volume won't work on single-tenant hardware. In other cases, some EC2 instance types may not even operate in a VPC with dedicated tenancy. Cloud application developers must carefully test workload operations in dedicated instances before moving EC2 Dedicated Instances to production.

AWS offers EC2 Dedicated Instances on-demand; they carry the regular hourly per-instance fee, along with a flat $2 per hour dedicated region fee -- regardless of how many dedicated instances are running. Dedicated Instances are also available as Reserved Instances for long-term commitments and as Spot Instances for on-the-fly instance availability.

Next Steps

How does security benefit from EC2 Dedicated Instances?

Use shared resources to restore cloud bandwidth

Many different shapes and sizes for AWS instance types

This was last published in February 2017

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