AWS General purpose VMs history

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AWS General purpose VMs history
Benchmark Compute Performance aarch64 ARM x86 Intel AMD

It's welll known that Amazon Web Services, on top of being the market leader, is also one of the pionners by starting VMs renting in 2006 with the first series: M1. The M implying Medium or General Purpose and the number is the version. Back nowadays in 2022, several generations have followed one another and have diversified, We passed from a old Intels at 1.7 GHz to the latest Intel, AMD or their custom ARM called Graviton 2.

The goal of this study is to analyze the evolution AWS' General Purpose VMs through the pricing, the specification and the performance of each product of this category. Amazon has the specificity to still allow the spinning of their oldest instance types giving the ability to run an apple-to-apple comparison and judge the benefits of each new generation in their catalog.

We tested essentialy VMs of type xlarge, with 4CPU and 16GB of RAM in following series:

  • M1
  • M2
  • M3
  • M4
  • M5
  • M5a
  • M5d
  • M5ad
  • M5n
  • M5zn
  • M6g
  • M6gd
  • M6i

Bascally this list contains only general purpose instance types except M2 rebranded as extended memory from 2006 to 2021.