Benchmarks: Amazon EC2 C5ad Instances Launch For AMD EPYC Rome With Local NVMe Storage

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 17 August 2020. Page 1 of 3. 10 Comments

Complementing Amazon's recently launched EPYC 7002 "Rome" CPUs in the EC2 cloud, the "c5a" series has now been extended with the "c5ad" line-up of AMD EPYC Rome processors that now have local NVMe-based solid-state storage directly attached. Initial tests of the Amazon EC2 C5ad instances are promising and indeed offering better value than the comparable Intel Xeon instances.

Last week AWS announced the C5ad instances as AMD EPYC processors equipped with local NVMe SSD storage physically connected to the host server. Amazon advertises the new C5ad instances as "high performance processing at 10% lower cost over comparable instances...C5ad instances offer the lowest cost per x86 vCPU for a disk-backed instance in the Amazon EC2 portfolio."

The C5ad line-up is intended for workloads needing high-speed, low-latency storage like video encoding, imaging workloads, and other media processing. The C5ad line-up ranges from a 2 vCPU configuration with a single 75GB NVMe SSD up through the c5ad.24xlarge with 96 vCPUs and dual 1900GB NVMe SSDs.

The C5ad line-up overall is cheaper than the "C5d" Intel Xeon backed instances and also offering better storage options at various tiers. For the 24xlarge size, both the Intel and AMD options offer 96 vCPUs with 192GB of RAM but in the case of the AMD EPYC Rome instance it costs $4.128 per hour on-demand and has 2 x 1900GB NVMe SSDs compared to the Intel instance that costs $4.60 per hour on-demand for 4 x 900GB NVMe SSDs.

For the purposes of today's benchmarks I fired up the c5ad.4xlarge and c5d.4xlarge instances for comparison. The AMD instance has dual 300GB NVMe SSDs and runs $0.688 per hour while the Intel instance has a single 400GB NVMe SSD and costs $0.768 per hour while both configurations have 16 vCPUs and 32GB of RAM. Due to costs, just the 4xlarge instance was tested as the mid-range target for this initial C5ad benchmarking.

EC2 c5ad Benchmarks

The c5ad.4xlarge instance was backed by an AMD EPYC 7R32 processor while in the case of the c5d.4xlarge was an Intel Xeon Platinum 8124M. Both instances were eight physical cores plus SMT/HT. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with the Linux 5.3 kernel was used for all of the benchmarking.

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