ECS Bare Metal Instance and Super Computing Clusters

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018

ECS Bare Metal (EBM) Instance is a new type of computing product that features both elasticity of virtual machines and performance and characteristics of physical machines. As a product completely and independently developed by Alibaba Cloud, EBM instances are based on the next-generation virtualization technology. Compared with the previous generation of virtualization technology, the next-generation virtualization technology primarily innovates in not only supporting the common virtual cloud server but also completely supporting nested virtualization technology. It retains the resource elasticity of common cloud servers and adopts nested virtualization technology such that it retains the user experience of physical machines.

Super Computing Clusters (SCC) are based on EBM instances. With the help of the high-speed interconnectivity of RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) technology, SCC greatly improve network performance and increase the acceleration ratio of large-scale clusters. Therefore, SCC have all the advantages of EBM instances and they can provide high-quality network performance featuring high bandwidth and low latency.


EBM instances

EBM instances realize the value of customers by way of technological innovation. Specifically, EBM instances have the following advantages:

  • Exclusive computing resources
    As a cloud-based elastic computing product, the EBM Instances outshines the performance and isolation of contemporary physical machine and enables exclusive computing resources without virtualization performance overheads and feature loss. EBM Instances support 8, 16, 32, and 96 CPU cores and ultrahigh frequency. By taking an EBM Instance with 8 cores as an example, it supports an ultrahigh frequency of up to 3.7 to 4.1 GHz, providing better performance and responsiveness for gaming and financial businesses than similar products.

  • Encrypted compute
    For security, the EBM Instances use a chip-level trusted execution environment (Intel® SGX) in addition to the physical server isolation to guarantee that the encrypted data is only allowed for computing in a safe and trusted environment, providing improved security for the customer data on the cloud. This chip-level hardware security protection provides a safe box for the data of cloud users and allows users to control all the data encryption and key protection procedures.

  • Any Stack on Alibaba Cloud
    An EBM Instance combines the performance strengths and complete features of physical machines and the ease-of-use and cost-effectiveness of cloud servers. It can effectively meet your demanding requirements for high-performance computing and help you build new hybrid clouds. Thanks to the flexibility, elasticity, and all the other strengths it inherits from both virtual and physical machines, it is enabled with the re-virtualization ability. As a result, offline private clouds can be seamlessly migrated to Alibaba Cloud with no concern about the performance overhead brought about by nested virtualization, providing a new approach for you to move businesses onto the cloud.

  • Heterogeneous instruction set processor support
    The virtualization 2.0 technology used by EBM instances is completely developed by Alibaba Cloud. It can zero-cost support ARM and other instruction set processors.


Alibaba Cloud also released Super Computing Cluster based on the EBM Instance to meet the demands for high performance computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, scientific or engineering computing, data analysis, audio and video processing, and so on. In the cluster, nodes are connected by Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) networks featuring high bandwidth and low latency, guaranteeing the high parallel efficiency posed by applications requiring high-performance computing. Meanwhile, the RoCE (RDMA over Convergent Ethernet) may rival an Infiniband network in terms of connection speed, and supports more extensive Ethernet-based applications. The combination of the SCC built on the EBM Instance and other Alibaba Cloud computing products such as the ECS and GPU servers provides the Alibaba Cloud elastic high-performance computing (E-HPC) platform with ultimate high performance parallel computing resources, making supercomputing on the cloud a reality.


EBM instances and SCC have the following features:

  • CPU specifications:

    • EBM instance: Supports 8 cores, 16 cores, 32 cores, and 96 cores, and supports high clock speed.
    • SCC: Supports 64 cores and 96 cores, and provides support for high clock speed.
  • Memory specifications:

    • EBM instance: Supports 32 GiB to 768 GiB memory. To provide better computing performance, the ratio of CPU to memory is 1:2 or 1:4.
    • SCC: The ratio of CPU to memory is 1:3 or 1:4.
  • Storage specifications: To deliver instances in minutes, supports starting from the virtual machine image and cloud disk.

  • Network configurations:

    • Supports Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) networks, maintaining interoperability with ECS, GPU cloud servers, and other cloud products. Delivers performance and stability comparable to physical machine networks.
    • (Only for SCC) Supports RDMA communication through high-speed ROCE networks.
  • Images: Supports images of Alibaba Cloud ECS. Therefore, flexibly interoperates with ECS without any additional effort.

  • Security settings: Maintains the same security policies and flexibility as existing cloud server ECS instances.

The following table compares EBM instance or SCC, physical servers, and virtual servers.

Features EBM instances/SCC Physical servers Virtual servers
Automated O&M Delivery in minutes Y N Y
Computing Zero performance loss Y Y N
Zero feature loss Y Y N
Zero resource competition Y Y N
Storage Fully compatible with ECS cloud disks Y N Y
Start from cloud disks (system disks) Y N Y
System disk can be quickly reset Y N Y
Uses ECS images Y N Y
Supports cold migration between physical and virtual servers Y N Y
Requires no installation of operating system Y N Y
Discards local RAID, and provides stronger protection of data on cloud disks Y N Y
Network Fully compatible with the ECS VPC networks Y Y Y
Fully compatible with the ECS classic networks Y Y Y
Free of bottlenecks for communications between physical and virtual server clusters in the VPC Y N Y
Management Fully compatible with the existing ECS management system Y N Y
Consistent user experience on VNC and other features with that of virtual servers Y N Y
Guaranteed OOB network security Y N N/A

In the preceded table, Y indicates support, N indicates not support, and N/A indicates no data available or not applicable.

Instance type families

The type families of EBM instance include:

  • General purpose EBM instance type families, including ebmg5 and ebmg4
  • High frequency EBM instance type families, including ebmhfg5 and ebmhfg4
  • Compute EBM instance type families, including ebmc4

The type families of SCC include scch5 and sccg5.

For more information, see Instance type families.

Billing methods

Currently, EBM instances and SCC instances are billed on a monthly or yearly basis only. For more information about billing methods, see Billing method comparison.

You can create an EBM instance and an SCC instance in the console.

For more information, see FAQs about EBM instances.

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