We study the performance and cost efficiency as perceived by the end user of a specific class of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud instances, namely credit-based bursting instances. This class of instance types has been introduced by Amazon EC2 in summer 2014, and behaves on a fundamental level differently than any other existing instance type, either from EC2 or other vendors. We introduce a basic formal model for fostering the understanding and analysis of these types, and empirically study their performance in practice. Further, we compare the performance of credit-based bursting cloud instance types to existing general-purpose types, and derive potential use cases for practitioners. Our results indicate that bursting instance types are cost-efficient for CPU-bound applications with an average utilization of less than 40%, as well as for non-critical IO-bound applications. Finally, we also discuss a simple boosting scheme that enables practitioners to improve the cost efficiency of their bursting instance usage under given constraints.
This paper was presented at the 8th International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC). Notice that the DOIs for the entire UCC 2015 proceedings are still broken (as of 2019-07-07). Direct link to IEEEXplore: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7431414