Two months ago Amazon Web Services released a new “Cluster Compute” EC2 instance type, the cc.4xlarge. This new instance type is targeted for High-Performance Computing (HPC) such as computationally intensive scientific applications. The major differences between this and other EC2 instance types are:
- Dual quad core “Nehalem” X5570 2.93 processors: compared with X5550 2.67 processors for the next largest m2 instance types. Amazon states this CPU configuration provides 33.5 ECU (EC2 Compute Units) compared with 26 ECUs for their m2.4xlarge instance type (previously the largest instance type)
- Hardware-Assisted Virtualization (HVM): compared with paravirtualization used by other instance types
- Multi-node 10 Gbps clustering capabilities: instances can be deployed to separate “Placement Groups” wherein each such group has non-blocking, low latency 10 Gbps network connectivity
Previously, we published 5 blog posts on cloud server performance which did not include this new EC2 instance type (cc.4xlarge) including:
- What is an ECU? CPU Benchmarking in the Cloud
- Disk IO Benchmarking in the Cloud
- Cloud Server Benchmarking Part 3: Java, Ruby, Python and PHP
- Cloud Server Benchmarking Part 4: Memory IO
- Cloud Server Benchmarking Part 5: Encoding & Encryption
The purpose of this post is to highlight the new EC2 Cluster Compute instance type in the context of these benchmarks and how it performs relative to the other EC2 instance types and servers in other IaaS clouds. For specifics on how the benchmarks are conducted and scores calculated, review the previous blog posts linked above. The benchmarks were performed on an individual cc.4xlarge instance and measure performance of a single instance only. The most beneficial feature of this new instance type is the clustering capabilities via 10 Gbps non-blocking network, which is not highlighted in this post.
The new cluster compute instance type is currently only available in Amazon’s US-East region. The benchmark results tables below show only EC2 instances from that same region. NOTE: Although the EC2 documentation states that the cluster compute instance is assigned 2 quad core processors (8 cores total), the processors’ hyper-threading capabilities resulted in benchmarks reporting 16 total cores.
As described in the original post, we calculated CPU performance using a metric we created called the CCU. This metric is based on Amazon’s ECU. Amazon states that the new cluster compute instance type should provide 33.5 ECUs. This is fairly close to our calculated 36.85 ECUs. Overall, CPU performance was exceptionally good, exceeding the performance of 134 cloud servers in 28 IaaS clouds from the previous post with the exception of the Storm on Demand 48GB X5650 Westmere cloud server which scored 42.87.
|cc.4xlarge||Xeon X5570 2.93 [16 cores]||23||$1.6/hr||12306||1044.3||36.85|
|m2.4xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [8 cores]||68.4||$2/hr||5877||1511||30.72|
|m2.2xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [4 cores]||34.2||$1/hr||5163||1332||25.81|
|c1.xlarge||Xeon E5410 2.33||7||$0.68/hr||5118||780||10.66|
|m2.xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67||17.1||$0.5/hr||3952||935.8||6.5|
|m1.xlarge||Xeon E5430 2.66||15||$0.68/hr||4256||938.6||5.15|
|m1.large||Xeon E5430 2.66||7.5||$0.34/hr||3092||663.4||4.17|
|c1.medium||Xeon E5410 2.33||1.7||$0.17/hr||2680||758.4||3.49|
|m1.small||Opteron 2218 2.60||1.7||$0.085/hr||1726||179.7||0.9|
Disk IO Performance
Disk IO performance was likewise very good. The score of 104.42 signifies that it performed better than the baseline system for this benchmark, a “bare-metal” server running 4 x 15K RPM SAS drives configured with hardware Raid 1+0. For more information, review the previous post. Cloud server storage comes in both local and external storage flavors. External storage provides generally higher reliability (High Availability is only possible with external storage), while local storage provides generally better performance. With one exception (a Terremark vCloud Express Cloud Server), disk IO performance for the new cluster compute instance type was better than any other “external storage” cloud servers including any of EC2 existing instance types.
|cc.4xlarge||Xeon X5570 2.93 [16 cores]||23||$1.6/hr||104.42|
|Xeon X550 2.67 [4 cores]
Xeon X5550 2.67 [8 cores]
|m2.xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [2 cores]||17.1||$0.5/hr||86.37|
|c1.xlarge||Xeon E5410 2.33 [8 cores]||7||$0.68/hr||74.29|
|m1.xlarge||Xeon E5430 2.66 [4 cores]||15||$0.68/hr||57.34|
|m1.large||Xeon E5430 2.66 [2 cores]||7.5||$0.34/hr||54.29|
|c1.medium||Xeon E5410 2.33 [2 cores]||1.7||$0.17/hr||35.76|
|m1.small||Opteron 2218 HE 2.60 [1 core]||1.7||$0.085/hr||25.34|
Interpreted Programming Language Performance (Java, Python, Ruby, PHP)
In this benchmark category the new cluster compute instance type really shined. It performed significantly better than any of the other 134 cloud servers benchmarked in the previous post. The previous top performers were the Ec2 m2.4xlarge instance with a score of about 139, followed by the Storm on Demand 48GB Westmere cloud server with a score of 124.
|cc.4xlarge||Xeon X5570 2.93 [16 cores]||23||55383||3430||2.84||212.97||159.47|
|m2.4xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [8 cores]||68.4||50328||3725||4.12||197.42||138.58|
|m2.2xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [4 cores]||34.2||50253||3737||4.08||108.09||115.45|
|m2.xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [2 cores]||17.1||50774||3743||3.56||58.73||106.49|
|c1.xlarge||Xeon E5410 2.33 [8 cores]||7||44460||4586||5.46||131.12||105.76|
|m1.xlarge||Xeon E5430 2.66 [4 cores]||15||38737||5279||6.45||68.09||79.62|
|m1.large||Xeon E5430 2.66 [2 cores]||7.5||38625||5324||6.58||38.21||71.29|
Memory IO Performance
Memory IO performance was also exceptional for the new cluster compute instance. Its score of 130.6 was the second highest of the 134 cloud servers included in the previous post. Only the 48GB Storm on Demand Westmere server was higher with a score of 136.4.
|cc.4xlarge||Xeon X5570 2.93 [16 cores]||23||58909.51||130.6|
|m2.4xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [8 cores]||68.4||44330.61||117.88|
|m2.2xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [4 cores]||34.2||53150.28||113.04|
|m2.xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [2 cores]||17.1||42735.76||104.94|
|c1.medium||Xeon E5410 2.33 [2 cores]||1.7||15766.09||68.98|
|m1.xlarge||Xeon E5430 2.66 [4 cores]||15||27314.76||63.67|
|m1.large||Xeon E5430 2.66 [2 cores]||7.5||28656.14||57.05|
Encoding & Encryption Performance
In this benchmark category, the new cluster compute instance type scored second highest again out of the 134 cloud servers benchmarked in the previous post.
|cc.4xlarge||Xeon X5570 2.93 [16 cores]||23||148.38|
|m2.2xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [4 cores]||34.2||136.32|
|m2.4xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [8 cores]||68.4||136.12|
|m2.xlarge||Xeon X5550 2.67 [2 cores]||17.1||136.09|
|c1.xlarge||Xeon E5410 2.33 [8 cores]||7||119.77|
|m1.xlarge||Xeon E5430 2.66 [4 cores]||15||103.33|
|m1.large||Xeon E5430 2.66 [2 cores]||7.5||103.06|
|c1.medium||Xeon E5410 2.33 [2 cores]||1.7||100.86|
|m1.small||Opteron 2218 HE 2.60 [1 core]||1.7||43.25|
The new EC2 cluster compute instance type is an excellent performing cloud server. Performance exceeded that of most of the “bare metal” cloud servers we benchmarked previously. Combined with 10 Gbps non-blocking clustering capabilities, and on-demand deployment & hourly billing, this new instance type provides exceptional value and capabilities for HPC applications.