What is AWS EC2?

Last Update: June 13, 2024 Post Views: 209

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make servers available in the cloud easier. AWS EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to create and configure EC2 instances. It provides you with complete control of your servers and lets you run EC2 in Amazon’s data centers across the globe

AWS EC2 stands for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. One of the most popular services offered by Amazon is its EC2 cloud computing service. With this service, businesses can run create virtual servers in the public cloud.

An AWS EC2 is a virtual machine running with an operating system and hardware like CPU, RAM & hard disk can be customizedThe AWS EC2 service provides users the ability to launch and manage EC2 instances (Which are Virtual Machines) at any time

Elastic Compute Cloud, 'elastic', describes how the system can adapt to changing workloads and provision or de-provision resources according to demand.

Why AWS EC2 is used?​

The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud is a scalable computing resource provided by the Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon EC2 service lets you launch as many virtual servers as you need, one can configure networking and security, and manage storage of EC2 instance

Scaling up requires buying some extra storage space or computing resources, as a result, the EC2 web service works perfectly because you don't have to worry about any of these and can focus on production exclusively. AWS EC2 is a highly scalable computing platform in the cloud and allows companies to increase or decrease capacity in minutes instead of hours or days.

How to create EC2​

When setting up EC2 instance from AWS Console, a desired Amazon Machine Image (AMI) need to be selected which contains an operating system, applications, and configurations. AMI is stored in Simple Storage Service (S3) storage from where EC2 instance are launched in few seconds or minutes

The AWS platform allows customers to create EC2 instances. With an AWS account, users can choose instance types, operating system , processor, and other specs that fit their needs. They can customize EC2 using AWS console

Once an EC2 instance has been created, users can access it using SSH(Linux Server) or RDP(windows Server). An EC2 instance can then be used like any other virtual machine and can be accessed from any corner of the world in a secure fashion

Benefits of EC2 Instances ​

As discussed above an AWS EC2 instance is a virtual machine . Due to EC2's scalability, you can scale up or down dynamically according to your needs. Because EC2 instances are offered as a service by AWS cloud they don't require hardware or software purchases.

Types Of AWS EC2 Instances​

Amazon offers a wide range of EC2 instances for different purposes. Depending on your needs, you can choose the correct model. Here are a few different types of cases that can assist you in finding the right match:

  • General Purpose Instances

It's the most widely used instance type. Typically, it is used for web servers and running deployment environments for mobile or gaming applications. It is the perfect choice for beginners. There are several general-purpose instances - A1, M5, M5a, M4, T3, T3a, T2.

  • Compute Optimized Instances

When you need raw computational power, such as gaming servers, scientific models, high-performance web servers, and media encoding, compute-optimized instance types are ideal. Although they are faster, they are also more expensive (costs depend on memory, CPU, instance storage, network, and EBS bandwidth). There are three compute-optimized instances: C5, C5n, and C4.

  • Memory-Optimized Instances

A memory-sensitive application, such as real-time big data analytics, high-performance databases, or similar applications, is ideal for these instances. Memory-optimized instances include - R5, R5a, R4, X1e, X1, Z1d, and High Memory.

  • Accelerated Computing Instances

A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) or Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) uses graphic-sensitive computations in different instances of enhanced computing. Instances of Accelerated Computing include P3, P2, G3, F1.

  • Storage Optimized Instances

For large data sets, these instances provide high sequential read-write performance. Users use these instances when they require SSD storage. Instances optimized for storage include - I3, I3en, D2, H1.EC2

Is AWS EC2 Expensive?​

While each EC2 instance type is different, several factors affect AWS EC2 pricing. For example, AWS EC2 with very high no of CPU cores or huge amount of RAM can significantly impact billing charges. However AWS offers several discounting plans like Reserved Instance, Spot Instance where customer can save cost up-to 60-80%

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Amazon EC2 Instance Pricing Models​

AWS EC2 pricing offers several pricing models for bill management and many different instance types.

  • EC2 Free Tier

A Free Tier account on EC2 allows users to get 750 hours per month. Free tier users can choose between Linux, RHEL, Windows, or SLES instances using t2.micro or t3.micro. Location availability varies by region.

  • EC2 On-Demand

AWS EC2 offers an on-demand pricing model in which only compute capacity is charged. Billing options include hourly and per second, and pricing varies based on the instance type. On-demand pricing eliminates upfront payments and long-term commitments, allowing for greater scalability.

  • Spot Instances

You can request spare EC2 capacity and pay a significantly lower rate (up to 90% off) than the original on-demand price with EC2 spot instances. Spot instance is typically employed for flexible start and end schedules or applications requiring compute resources for short periods

  • Reserved Instances (RIs)

A reserved instance can save as much as 72% of the cost of an on-demand model. AWS EC2 RIs can substantially reduce your overall computing costs if you commit to using EC2 for an extended period (1 or 3 years).

  • Dedicated Hosts

Your workloads are entirely dedicated to physical EC2 servers with Dedicated Hosts. You can use server-bound software licenses on a dedicated host, such as SQL Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Windows Server. Investing in a dedicated server and license reduces your costs and helps you to meet compliance requirements. Nonetheless, you must ensure that your existing license terms are compatible with the new environment. 

Getting Real Experience With EC2​

In case you haven't tried AWS EC2, there are resources to help you get started, Attari Classes offer training for AWS Cloud Solution Architect Course.

Attari Classes has students from all over the world taking online classes, including the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Qatar, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and many others.


The author provided a quick overview of AWS EC2 instances in this tutorial. If you use AWS, you should also explore the EC2 virtual server system and take full advantage. EC2 Virtual servers are an efficient way to  increase efficiency in production environment

A free trial of EC2 is available for 12 months when you create a new AWS Free Tier account , so it is recommended that you take advantage of it.

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