How to Choose AWS Instance Family for Your Business Workloads?

One of the great benefits of AWS Cloud is the flexibility of various instance families to support a diverse set of workloads based on the computing, memory, storage and network requirements.

However, choosing AWS instance family is a difficult and ambiguous process for even advanced AWS cloud users. Here we present top recommendations to make that decision easier for you.

Development Workloads

There is no reason not to choose T2 family instances as your first choice for any development workloads. The T2 instance family works very well for most of the development workloads except for certain enterprise solutions like IBM/Oracle/Microsoft which require beyond 8 GB configurations.

We recommend looking at M4 instance families if you need more than 8GB memory for your development workloads.

Digital and Web App Workloads

We recommend using C4 or R3 family instances for any digital or web application workloads. We also found T2 instances to be great choices for digital campaign workloads that are not compute heavy.

Database Workloads

Most databases require a good mix of memory and compute infrastructure. We have found using R3 or M4 family instances as a great fit for moderate to large database workloads. If you can use RDS then it’s the best choice to leverage the managed database advantages.

API Workloads

We recommend using C4 family instances for API workloads that are compute heavy and M4 based family instances that are memory heavy. If you have API workload for task processing then leverage T2 instances.

Filesystem and Storage Heavy Workloads

We have found D2 or I2 family instances to be excellent choice for any workloads with large file system or storage needs. The I2 offers SSD backed local storage for low latency and D2 offers up to 48TB in local storage.

We strongly suggest choosing a T2, C4, M4 family instances compared to previous generation T1, C1, C3, M1, M3 family instances.

Botmetric is soon going to add the ability to provide recommendations for changing the instance types. It will consider the instance usage as well as the new instance types while recommending the change in instance types.

Botmetric’s AWS cloud insights audit already performs the following two sub-audits with respect to instance types :


  1. Cost Audit -> Low CPU Utilization EC2 Instances

It provides a list of all the instances which have very low CPU utilization. You can downgrade these instances and save cost.

  1. Performance Audit -> High CPU Utilization EC2 Instances

It provides a list of all the instances which have high CPU utilization. You should upgrade these instances as high CPU utilization might be impacting the performance of the applications running on those instances.

You can refer this step by step guide to change an instance type.

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