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Amazon Web Services has you covered if you’re seeking powerful chips to handle your app’s needs. Now it’s becoming more full-featured on the other range of the spectrum, with new slices of servers that can run super-light workloads and handle slightly heftier when necessary.

The new T2 instances in Amazon’s cloud — the top public cloud around — start using a fraction of a CPU core and can gradually scale up to a full core, according to a blog post on the news from AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr. It’s an interesting model, as Barr explains:

Your ability to burst is based on the concept of “CPU Credits” that you accumulate during quiet periods and spend when things get busy. You can provision an instance of modest size and cost and still have more than adequate compute power in reserve to handle peak demands for compute power.

Amazon has come out with several new instances in the past year, including the storage- and memory-packed r3, Dense Compute servers featuring solid-state drives, and I2 instances optimized for input and output.

Amazon can make product announcements like that because so many companies and individual developers use its cloud. And as new instances come out, more people get interested and sign up. Then Amazon can buy infrastructure at better economies of scale and lower prices — and that happens several times a year. Then even more people jump aboard. And the cycle continues.

This is how Amazon has remained the market leader in the public cloud. Google and Microsoft and others are looking to shake up Amazon’s lead, but they still need time. New instances have come out from Amazon’s competitors, but not at the same rate.

The new instances on AWS could be a good fit for small databases, web servers, and remote desktops.

The T2s cost less than any other AWS instances, starting at 1.3 cents an hour. The CPU credits associated with them don’t roll over forever; rather, they hang around for 24 hours, Barr wrote.

The new instances are available today in micro, small, and medium sizes, out of several data center regions Amazon operates, including U.S. East, U.S. West, EU, and South America.


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