AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) offers a diverse selection of instance types to cater to varying levels of performance and cost-effectiveness. This flexible and scalable cloud infrastructure empowers you to select the instance type that best suits your workload needs.

At first, selecting the ideal AWS EC2 instance type can be daunting. The available instance types are categorized based on their purpose, such as general purpose, compute-optimized, memory-optimized, and storage-optimized, with each category having a distinct set of instance types tailored to specific workloads. Additionally, each instance type has its unique combination of virtual CPUs (vCPUs), memory, and storage, resulting in differing levels of performance and cost-effectiveness.

This blog is designed to assist you in comprehending the various AWS EC2 instance types and determining the most appropriate option for your workload.

  • General Purpose Instances

AWS EC2 provides a variety of general-purpose instances that cater to a wide range of workloads, such as web and application servers, gaming servers, and small to medium-sized databases. Some of the popular instances include t3, t4, and m6g.

T3 instances are an affordable option that strike a balance between compute, memory, and network resources. These instances are well-suited for both bursty and general-purpose workloads.

T4 instances, on the other hand, offer higher performance and increased memory compared to t3 instances, thanks to the latest-generation Intel Cascade Lake processors.

M6g instances leverage the AWS Graviton2 processors to provide a cost-effective option for general-purpose workloads, with impressive performance levels.

  • Compute Optimized Instances

The compute-optimized instances cater to compute-intensive tasks like high-performance computing, gaming, and machine learning.

AWS EC2 provides a range of compute-optimized instances, including the popular c5, c6g, and inf1. The c5 instances deliver substantial computing power, making them a perfect fit for compute-intensive workloads such as batch processing, distributed analytics, and gaming. The inf1 instances, equipped with AWS Inferentia chips, are specialized for machine learning inference tasks.

  • Memory Optimized Instances

Memory-optimized instances cater to workloads that require high memory usage, such as real-time processing, big data analytics, and in-memory databases.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 offers a variety of memory-optimized instances, including popular options like r5, r6g, and x1. r5 instances are well-suited for memory-intensive applications, such as in-memory databases and big data analytics, and provide high memory capacity. Meanwhile, r6g instances utilize AWS Graviton2 processors, striking a balance between compute and memory resources at a lower cost than r5 instances. Finally, x1 instances offer the highest memory capacity among all EC2 instance types, making them an ideal choice for in-memory databases, big data processing, and real-time processing.

  • Storage Optimized Instances

Storage-intensive workloads such as distributed file systems, data warehousing, and high-performance databases are best suited for storage-optimized instances. AWS EC2 offers several popular options, including the i3 and d3 instances.

The i3 instances are particularly well-suited for high-performance databases and distributed file systems, thanks to their high IOPS and low latency capabilities. Meanwhile, d3 instances boast high-density local storage, making them the perfect choice for large-scale data warehousing and MapReduce workloads.

Which One to Choose:

The task of selecting the appropriate AWS EC2 instance type for your application may seem daunting. To make an informed decision, there are several important factors to take into account:

  • Workload: Your application’s workload is the most critical factor in determining the optimal instance type. For instance, if your application is CPU-intensive, you’ll require an instance type with a high CPU-to-memory ratio, while a memory-intensive application necessitates an instance type with high memory and low CPU.
  • Budget: The cost of an instance type is another factor to consider, as some types are more expensive than others. Hence, you need to strike a balance between the instance’s performance and your budget.
  • Availability: Not all instance types are available in all regions, so it’s crucial to verify the instance type’s availability in your desired region before choosing it.
  • Instance size: EC2 instances are available in a range of sizes, from small to extra-large. Choosing the appropriate size is essential since it affects the instance’s performance and cost.
  • Storage: Different EC2 instances offer various storage options, and you must select the instance type that provides the appropriate storage option for your application.

AWS offers the option of utilizing EC2 compute instances on a pay-per-hour or pay-per-second basis, providing a high level of flexibility and scalability. This makes it an excellent choice for new AWS users experimenting with the platform or for workloads that are unpredictable. However, it’s worth noting that on-demand instances come at a higher cost and can add up quickly.


To summarize, AWS EC2 offers various types of instances, each designed to suit specific workloads. The selection of the appropriate instance type is crucial for optimizing the performance and cost of your application. Therefore, it’s essential to consider factors such as workload, budget, instance size, availability, and storage when deciding on an EC2 instance type. By doing so, you can ensure that your application operates efficiently while remaining cost-effective.