Community Blog Alibaba Cloud 6th Generation ECS: An In-Depth Introduction

Alibaba Cloud 6th Generation ECS: An In-Depth Introduction

In this blog, I'll be introducing what Alibaba Cloud 6th Gen ECS is, what it is for, and how it outperforms its predecessors.

By Ghulam Qadir, Alibaba Cloud MVP

Elastic Compute Service (ECS) is a type of computing service that features elastic processing capabilities. ECS has a simpler and more efficient management mode than physical servers. You can create instances, change the OS, and add or release any number of ECS instances at any time to fit your business needs. An ECS instance is a virtual computing environment that includes CPU, memory, and other basic computing components. An instance is the core component of ECS and is the actual operating entity offered by Alibaba Cloud. Other resources, such as disks, images, and snapshots, can only be used in conjunction with an ECS instance.

The following figure illustrates the concept of an ECS instance. You can use the ECS console to configure the instance type, disks, OS, and other affiliated resources.


Basic Concepts

It is helpful to understand the following concepts before you use ECS:

Region and zone: A physical location where a data center is located.

ECS instance: A virtual computing environment that includes the CPU, memory, OS, bandwidth, disks, and other basic computing components.

Instance types: The specifications of an ECS instance, including the number of vCPU cores, memory, and networking performance. The instance type of an ECS instance determines its compute capability.

Images: A running environment template for ECS instances. It generally includes an OS and preinstalled software.

Block storage: Block level storage products for your ECS, including Cloud disks and Shared Block Storage based on the distributed storage architecture and local disks located on the physical server that an ECS instance is hosted on.

Snapshots: A copy of the data on an elastic block storage device as it was at a specific point in time.

Network Types

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): A private network established in Alibaba Cloud. VPCs are logically isolated from other virtual networks in Alibaba Cloud.

Classic network: A network majorly deployed in the public infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud.

Security groups: A logical group of instances that are in the same region and have the same security requirements and mutual trust. A security group works as a virtual firewall for the ECS instances inside it.

On May 7, 2020 Alibaba Cloud, the largest cloud computing vendor in China, released the memory enhanced 6th generation ECS (re6), a new generation of memory-optimized instance family. This new instance family offers an ultrahigh CPU-to-memory ratio of 1:15, and is suitable for memory-intensive databases such as SAP HANA and Redis. Memory enhanced 6th generation ECS (re6) fully uses Alibaba's technological advantages to help enterprises migrate services to the cloud and complete digital transformation.


It uses the latest Intel Cascade Lake processor with a clock speed of 2.5 GHz and a Turbo Boost speed of 3.2 GHz, improving performance by more than 30% over the previous generation.

X-Dragon Generation 3

Integrates computing platforms including the ECS Bare Metal server and virtual machines within a single architecture. Generation 3 bring double performance of generation 2. During tests of e-commerce scenarios with high levels of demand for AI usage, the new X-Dragon architecture increased queries-per-second (QPS) by 30% and decreased latency by 60%. The cloud native nature of the solution means zero power wastage from running physical servers, and therefore reducing the unit computing cost by 50%. This is also reduce unexpected server failure rate.


The new generation of memory-optimized instances, memory enhanced 6th generation ECS uses the latest Intel Cascade Lake processors. In comparison with the re4 instance family, memory enhanced 6th generation ECS offers significantly higher computing capacity, 69% higher memory bandwidth, 28% lower latency, and comes at a much lower price. It leverages Alibaba Cloud's technologies to reduce enterprises' cloud deployment costs.


Benefits of 6th Gen Instances

Up to 15% Performance Increase

Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz (compared with 2.7 GHz of previous gen chips) for better end-to-end performance.

2 to 4 times the Performance

Support for VNNI instruction sets and 2 to 4 times the computing performance in deep learning inference scenarios.

Packet Loss Rate less than 0.0001%

6th Generation ECS server virtualization optimization offer better jitter performance with less than 1 in 1 billion packets exceeding 1ms during test ping flood attacks.


Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provides fast memory and the latest Intel CPUs to help you to power your cloud applications and achieve faster results with low latency.

Deploy ECS instances with just a few clicks from the easy-to-use console and scale capacity up or down based on real-time demands.

High Availability

Alibaba Cloud ECS provides the highest SLA commitment for both single instance and multiple instances in multiple availability zones among the top cloud providers worldwide. Alibaba Cloud gained lots of experience of running infrastructure at large scale while maintaining high availability.


As the largest cloud provider in China and the 3rd largest cloud provider worldwide by revenue, Alibaba Cloud ECS has the scale to provide high elasticity that can meet your business needs instantly. Alibaba Cloud can provide hundreds of thousands of vCPUs in minutes for a single customer in a single region that is because of their sophisticated smart placement algorithm, dynamic and automatic planning as well as our optimization of both hardware and software.

Performance Comparison of 5th and 6th Generation ECS Instances






Alibaba Cloud's next-generation enterprise-grade ECS instances are equipped with the latest-generation Intel processors customized for Alibaba and Alibaba Cloud's proprietary 25 Gbps MoC NIC. In terms of software, these instances use Alibaba Cloud's proprietary X-Dragon Hypervisor, Cloud Network Management-based VSwitches, and ESSDs. The next-generation instances feature improved computing, network, and storage specifications, along with enhanced QoS capabilities for storage and networking. As a result, these instances provide enterprise-level users with more powerful and more stable computing services.

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