AWS Releases First Graviton3 Instances

AWS has recently announced the general availability of the C7g instances, the first EC2 instances running Graviton3 processors. Designed for compute-intensive workloads, they provide always-on memory encryption, dedicated caches for every vCPU, and support for pointer authentication.

Announced in preview at the latest re:Inventthe C7g instances are available in eight sizes, from 1 to 64 vCPUs supported configurations up to 128 GiB of memory, 30 Gbps of network performance, and 20 Gbps of EBS performance. Sébastien Stormacqprincipal developer advocate at AWS, writes:

Our next generation, Graviton3 processors, deliver up to 25 percent higher performance, up to 2x higher floating-point performance, and 50 percent faster memory access based on leading-edge DDR5 memory technology compared with Graviton2 processors.

According to the press releasethe C7g instances are designed for workloads like web servers, load balancers, high performance computing (HPC), gaming, video encoding, scientific modeling, distributed analytics, machine learning inference, and ad serving.

Josh Triplett, Rust developer and language team lead, tested the Graviton3 instances building the Linux kernel and tweets:

These have a substantial performance boost. Building an arm64 5.18 kernel on 64-CPU instances:
c6g.16xlarge defconfig: 82.246s
c6g.16xlarge allmodconfig: 364.054s
c7g.16xlarge defconfig: 65.442s
c7g.16xlarge allmodconfig: 282.196s
And they launch a couple seconds faster, too.

The new instances are powered by the AWS Nitro System, a combination of dedicated hardware and Nitro hypervisor. The cloud provider claims “Graviton3 also uses up to 60 percent less energy for the same performance as comparable EC2 instances” but does not clarify how the benchmark was performed and what the comparable instances were. Testing FreeBSD, Colin PercivalFounder of Tarsnap, writes:

As far as FreeBSD is concerned, Graviton 3 is mostly just a faster version of the Graviton 2 (…) The Graviton 3 is a very nice improvement over the Graviton 2: With the exception of sha256 – which, at 1.2 GB/s , is likely more than fast enough already — we consistently see a CPU speedup of between 30% and 45%.

Ian Smithengineering manager at Honeycomb.io, adds:

We had been able to preview Graviton3 instances, which offered massive performance improvements for our workload even over Graviton2 (and which leave 5th generation and even 6th generation Intel instances in the dust)

The C7g instances are currently available only in the Northern Virginia and Oregon regions, with more regions expected in the future. The new class starts at $0.0363/hr on demand for the smallest c7g.medium, a 7% increase on the pricing of the previous generation c6g.medium ($0.034/hr).

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