Launch M5 and C5 instances on the Nitro System

Six weeks ago at the last AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, AWS introduced a new hypervisor that will pave the future of EC2. It moves the virtualization tasks traditionally performed by their previous hypervisor, Xen, and its management node, dom0 down into custom silicon and replaced the remaining bits with a very slim version of KVM.

This new hypervisor is called the Nitro System. It offers performance comparable to bare metal. And now that reserving capacity for a dom0 management node is no longer needed, it also exposes the entire capacity of the underlying hardware to EC2 instances. The first types of instances to run on the Nitro System and enjoy those benefits are the M5 and C5 EC2 instances.

This is a big change and it’s well worth familiraizing yourself with it. AWS did a great talk about it at re:Invent which is now also available online:


If you prefer to read, here is also a great article by Brendan Gregg from Netflix on the same subject: http://www.brendangregg.com/blog/2017-11-29/aws-ec2-virtualization-2017.html

Full Boxfuse support

Starting today you can now use Boxfuse to create AMIs and also launch M5 and C5 instances on the Nitro System in all regions where it is already deployed. To make this possible, Boxfuse made a number of changes.

First of all we upgraded to the 4.14.14 Linux kernel. As part of this move we also open-sourced the kernel configuration used by Boxfuse images and made in available on GitHub. Contributions and pull requests are welcome!

Next we added support for the two essential technologies required for AMIs running on the Nitro System: NVMe storage and Elastic Network Adapters. All new Boxfuse images created with Boxfuse client 1.31.0 and newer will now automatically include those drivers. The images are universal and able to run on Hyper-V, VirtualBox, EC2 with Xen and EC2 with Nitro, unchanged of course.

Finally we added support for the M5 and C5 instances, both to the Boxfuse Client and the Boxfuse Console.

Available today

This is available today at no additional charge. Support for this is fully transparent and in traditional Boxfuse fashion, all the heavy lifting is done automatically for you behind the scenes. Our tests indicate that both instance types have the fastest launch and boot times of any EC2 instance type so far. Simply update your client and enjoy!

So if you haven’t already, sign up for your Boxfuse account now (simply log in with your GitHub id, it’s free), start deploying your application effortlessly to AWS today and have it running in minutes.

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