Community Blog How Do I Select the Right ECS Instance Types for My Scenarios?

How Do I Select the Right ECS Instance Types for My Scenarios?

This article explains how to select the right Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Cloud instance families and types to power your scenarios and use cases.


Are you looking for cloud-based compute instance types that support the use of sensitive data such as personal identity, financial or healthcare information, or intellectual property? Or are you looking for instance types tailored for the requirements of large-scale enterprise resource planning software?

Businesses of all sizes and in all industries have specific needs and scenarios they need cloud compute to power and Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provides a range of instance families – each with multiple instance types – that meet these requirements.

What is Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service?

So what is ECS? A proven, high-performance, stable, reliable, and scalable IaaS-level service from Alibaba Cloud, ECS incorporates instances that deliver compute features and services for businesses and government organizations. An ECS instance is a virtual machine that incorporates basic computing components such as a vCPU, memory, operating system, network and disk, with fully customizable and modifiable configurations. Instances are categorized into instance families by usage scenarios, with each instance type based on CPU and memory specifications.

Instances are one major component of ECS: others include images that provide operating systems, application initialization data and pre-installed software for instances, and support multiple Linux distributions and Windows Server operating systems; Elastic Block Storage devices that offer high performance and low latency and Snapshot data files that capture the point-in-time status of a disk or disks to enable backup, restore and custom image creation.

In addition, ECS incorporates security groups that act as virtual firewalls for the ECS instances within; network capabilities such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), a logically isolated private cloud network, and classic network instances planned and managed in a centralized manner.

Selecting the Right ECS Instance Family and Type

Here, we will help you determine which ECS instances are the best fit for your needs. Alibaba Cloud has created a wide array of ECS instance families and types, divided into enterprise-level instance families that offer consistent performance and dedicated resources, and shared instance families that offer lower costs and guarantee availability, but because they share resources, cannot ensure consistent compute performance.

To select the right instance families and types for your use cases and scenarios, you need to understand the compute and cloud requirements of your scenarios in detail – including how they will evolve over time – and review the features of each available instance.

ECS instance families feature a range of attributes designed to meet every requirement your business may have. For example, general purpose instance families incorporate instance types suitable for a range of use cases and scenarios, while compute- and memory-optimized instance families are ideal for compute-intensive scenarios (such as batch processing) and use cases that require memory-intensive capability, such as analytics and large databases, respectively.

ECS big data instance families are ideal for scenarios involving offline compute and storage of big data, such as Hadoop distributed computing, extensive log processing and large-scale data warehousing. If your business uses a distributed network and has demanding requirements for storage, capacity and internal bandwidth, then these instance families may be ideal for you.

If your scenarios place high demands on storage I/O performance and require a high-availability architecture at the application layer – such as those involving NoSQL databases, massively parallel processing data warehouses and distributed file systems, common among businesses that provide online services such as gaming, e-commerce, video streaming and media, ECS instances with local SSDs are well suited to your needs.

If you need to support scenarios that incorporate the receipt and transmission of large volumes of packets – such as on-screen video comments and telecommunications data forwarding, high-performance front-end server clusters, data analysis, batch processing and video encoding, front-end servers of massive multiplayer online games or high performance scientific and engineering applications, ECS instances with high clock speeds may be the best fit for your organization.

Organizations with higher security requirements may select from security-enhanced ECS instance families that provide trusted computing capability based on Trusted Cryptography Module or Trusted Platform Module chips. Some families in this category also provide Software Guard Extension (SGX) encrypted computing capability for a trusted, confidential environment.

If your scenarios involve concurrent AI inference tasks that require high performance CPUs, memory and GPUs, such as image or speech recognition, or behavior identification; compute intensive graphics processing tasks that need high-performance 3D graphics virtualization capabilities (such as remote graphic design and cloud gaming) or 3D modelling in fields that require Ice Lake processors, such as animation and film production, cloud gaming and mechanical design, ECS GPU-accelerated compute-optimized and vGPU-accelerated families may be best suited to your needs. Alibaba Cloud provides heterogeneous computing services – incorporating Elastic GPU Service, FPGA as a Service (FaaS) and Elastic Accelerated Computing Instances – that can in specific scenarios deliver greater efficiencies and cost effective than standard ECS instances by one or more orders of magnitude.

For high-end scenarios such as deep learning and inference, genomics research, database acceleration, image transcoding such as conversion of JPEG images to WebP images and real-time video processing such as H.265 video compression, the ECS FPGA-accelerated compute optimized instance family can meet your business’s requirements.

If your organization wants the features of a physical server and the elasticity of an ECS virtual server, ECS Bare Metal Instances are ideal. They suit a wide range of scenarios, including workloads that need direct access to physical resources, or need a license to be bound to the hardware; compatibility with third party hypervisors to implement hybrid- and multi-cloud deployments; containers such as Docker; large packet volume receipt and transmission, enterprise level applications, websites and application servers, data analytics and computing and more. For organizations that need large-scale machine learning training, high-performance scientific computing and simulations and large-scale data analysis, batch processing and video encoding, Alibaba Cloud provides Super Computing Cluster instance families based on bare metal instances.

Selecting the Right ECS Instance Purchase Option

You should also review the instance purchasing options available to determine which are the best fit for your requirements. To obtain stable computing power, you can purchase subscription instances, while pay-as-you-go instances enable you to meet dynamic compute power requirements. To meet the compute power needs of stateless applications and to reduce compute costs, you can purchase preemptible instances, while to gain flexibility and cost-effectiveness in resource use, you can use pay-as-you-go instances in conjunction with reserved instances or saving plans. To gain guaranteed access to compute resources, you can use pay-as-you-go instances in conjunction with resource assurances.

Alibaba Cloud provides a range of offers to help your organization get started with ECS, including discounts of up to 85% on orders from new users.

Alibaba Cloud ECS is proven to deliver success at scale for some of the world’s most prominent businesses. For example, Schneider Electric – one of the world’s top-500 companies that provides electricity distribution and automation management and operates in more than 100 countries – is among the organizations to have reaped considerable rewards from the selection of Alibaba Cloud ECS, with the compute service’s auto scaling and load balancing capabilities helping it transition from a traditional equipment business to an innovative online service provider. ECS enables the concurrent processing of data collected by Schneider Electric’s Remote Energy Management platform and application so the organization’s customers can analyze energy consumption patterns.

ECS is also a key enabler for smaller businesses and organizations, such as Xendit, a financial technology company that provides payment solutions and simplifies the payment process for businesses in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia. Xendit relies on ECS among other Alibaba Cloud services to manage its growing production workloads.

Once you select the appropriate instances for your use cases and scenarios, and create them using Alibaba Cloud’s tools, you can leverage a range of Alibaba Cloud ECS benefits such as high availability, technology leadership and elasticity.

In addition, you can build on the power and flexibility of Alibaba Cloud ECS with a range of Alibaba Cloud products and services that can help your business innovate, implement efficiencies and secure a competitive advantage.

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Iain Ferguson

31 posts | 2 followers

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