AWS has unveiled its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) bare metal instances, providing applications with direct access to the processor and memory resources of the underlying server. These bare metal instances would be ideal for workloads that require access to the hardware feature set (such as Intel VT-x), or for applications that need to run in non-virtualized environments for licensing or support requirements.

AWS’ bare metal instances are built on the Nitro system, a collection of AWS-built hardware offload and server protection components that come together to “securely” provide “high performance” networking and storage resources to EC2 instances. Bare metal instances were announced for preview at AWS re:Invent 2017, and are now generally available with the EC2 Storage Optimized I3 instance family in the form of i3.metal instances.

As a new instance size belonging to the I3 instance family, bare metal I3 instances would have the same characteristics as other instances in this family, including NVMe SSD-backed instance storage optimized for low latency, high random I/O performance, and high sequential read throughput.

I3.metal instances are powered by 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon processors, offering 36 hyper-threaded cores (72 logical processors), 512 GiB of memory, and 15.2 TB of NVMe SSD-backed instance storage. These instances would deliver high networking throughput and low latency with up to 25 Gbps of aggregate network bandwidth using Elastic Network Adapter (ENA)-based Enhanced Networking.

US, Europe Availability

Bare metal instances would allow EC2 customers to run applications that benefit from deep performance analysis tools, specialized workloads that require direct access to bare metal infrastructure, legacy workloads not supported in virtual environments, and licensing-restricted Tier 1 business-critical applications.

Bare metal instances would also make it possible for customers to run virtualization secured containers such as Clear Linux Containers. Workloads on bare metal instances continue to take advantage of all services and features of the AWS Cloud, such as Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

AWS’ Bare metal I3 instances are available in the AWS US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Frankfurt) and Europe (Ireland) Regions.