Ubuntu on AWS gets improved performance using AWS-tuned kernel

Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Canonical - the team behind Ubuntu - have been working together to deliver the best experience of Ubuntu cloud flavor on AWS, world's most popular public cloud. Ubuntu cloud images are available on AWS for years and it is under the hood platform of majority of AWS services like EC2 Quickstart, Marketplace or Lightinstall. In addition to this collaboration, this week Canonical has announced availability of a custom tuned Linux Kernel to provide optimal performance on AWS platforms.

According to the official sources, as per 29th of March 2017, Ubuntu cloud images for AWS comes with AWS-tuned Kernel by default. Which means, any Ubuntu cloud image brought up using EC2 Quickstart or Marketplace on or after 29th March 2017 will be having performance tuned Kernel by default. These customized kernels will be supported till the support period of Ubuntu 16.04.x LTS release ends.

Some of the notable highlights of AWS tuned Ubuntu Kernels includes:
  • Up to 30% faster kernel boot speeds, on a 15% smaller kernel package
  • Full support for Elastic Network Adapter (ENA), including the latest driver version 1.1.2, supporting up to 20 Gbps network speeds for ENA instance types (currently I3, P2, R4, X1, and m4.16xlarge)
  • Improved i3 instance class support with NVMe storage disks under high IO load
  • Increased I/O performance for i3 instances
  • Improved instance initialization with NVMe backed storage disks
  • Disabled CONFIG_NO_HZ_FULL to eliminate deadlocks on some instance types
  • Resolved CPU throttling with AWS t2.micro instances
For more details, see original announcement published in Ubuntu Insights blog.

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