Amazon EC2 Micro: Barely Faster Than A Nokia N900?
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 3 January 2011. Page 4 of 4. 6 Comments

With the PostMark test, the t1.micro ended up beating out the Nokia N900 and Dell Mini 9, but the Fedora 14 guest continued to secure the lead.

The Fedora KVM guest was also faster at a simple task like measuring the time to unpack the Linux kernel source package.

In the final test, which was the SQLite database benchmark, the t1.micro instance secured its first major win. The reason for this lead though is largely because the Amazon Linux AMI operating system using EXT3 by default, which tends to do better than EXT4 with this particular disk test.

While Amazon allows free access to the Micro EC2 instance for one year's time to new customers, as you can see the performance is not great at all. In most of the tests carried out, an Intel Atom N270 32-bit netbook was much faster than this virtualized system in Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. In several tests, the t1.micro was closer performance-wise to a Nokia N900 smart-phone than it was an old Intel netbook. Besides the slow performance, its performance was also variably slow based upon available compute power in the cloud. The pricing on the EC2 On-Demand Micro Instance after the free period expires is two cents per hour for a Linux/Unix instance or $0.03 USD for a Microsoft Windows instance.

For anything but the simplest tasks, the t1.micro instance is almost too much. Fortunately, though Amazon's other available on-demand instances in their cloud-computing infrastructure are much better. Stay tuned for our greater Amazon EC2 tests of the m1.small, m1.large, m1.xlarge, m2.xlarge, m2.2xlarge, m2.4xlarge, c1.medium, and c1.xlarge instance types in the coming days, which is far more interesting and are much more powerful than an ARM-based smart-phone or an Atom netbook. You can also look at our initial Amazon EC2 benchmarks from December for Ubuntu EC2 on the large and extra large cloud instances rather than Amazon Linux AMI.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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