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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon Increases Network Bandwidth for EC2 Instances

Amazon Increases Network Bandwidth for EC2 Instances

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Amazon announced it has increased the bandwidth in all AWS regions for traffic between current-generation EC2 instances that use the Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) and have a correctly configured Amazon Machine Image (AMI). With the increase, customers will be able to move data more efficiently. Furthermore, the increase will raise the networking bar among the public cloud providers.

Joe Emison, founder and CTO of BuildFax, an AWS customer in Austin, Texas said:

Over the past year, the major cloud providers all addressed deficiencies in their network capabilities to improve connections to and through their data centers. Networking hasn't been a major inhibitor to adoption, but in some scenarios, workloads have remained on premises or locked into AWS because of migration constraints. For example, it would have taken weeks to move 10 TB of images out of an S3 bucket for someone else to work on, but now that can be sped to a degree that would no longer make such a move prohibitive.

To benefit from the increase in bandwidth customers must have configured the ENA, AWS' next-generation network interface. With ENA customers will have higher throughput and lower latency depending on the EC2 instance type and size. To summarize what customers can expect:

  • Up to 25 Gbps for traffic between EC2 and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), a fivefold improvement.
  • Up to 5 Gbps for single flow traffic (point-to-point) between EC2 instances in the same or different Availability Zones within a region or up to 25 Gbps for multi-flow traffic (across multiple connections).
  • Up to 10 Gbps for single flow traffic between EC2 instances within a cluster placement group, or up 25 Gbps for multi-flow traffic.

Note that some of the newer instance types have a built-in ENA adapter, while others customer will have to update their instances. To verify if the instance is ENA enabled, and that the enaSupport attribute is set, running the command 'modinfo ena' from an installed AWS Tools for Windows or AWS CLI on the instance can provide that info.

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The significant enabler for the increase in bandwidth is ENA. This adapter, available since June 2016, scales when network bandwidth grows and the vCPU count increases, which means there is no need to install newer drivers or other reconfigurations concerning bandwidth. Furthermore, ENA works well with modern processors found in the later EC2 instances like X1, which are designed for large-scale and in-memory applications in the cloud. An X1 instance can have up 128 vCPUs, which means efficient use of a shared resource like a network adapter is essential. This type of instance provides high throughput and packet per second performance (PPS), while ENA will minimize the load in various ways on the host processor, and efficiently distribute the packet processing workload across multiple vCPUs.

Offering more bandwidth can help customers pushing large workloads to an application on Amazon Elastic MapReduce or increase the volume of data to the Amazon Relational Database Service. Hence, the network can become less of a bottleneck if a customer wants to leverage the AWS platform more.

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