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Video: Introducing the Nitro Hypervisor – the Evolution of Amazon EC2 Virtualization

Anthony Liguori is a Senior Principal Engineer and works on the virtualization platform that powers EC2.

In this video from AWS Reinvent, Anthony Liguori from Amazon presents: Nitro Hypervisor – the Evolution of Amazon EC2 Virtualization.

“Over the last 11 years, the Amazon EC2 virtualization platform has quietly evolved to take advantage of unique hardware and silicon, an accelerated network and storage architecture, and with the launch of C5 instances, a bespoke hypervisor to deliver the maximum amount of resources and performance to instances. Come to this deep dive to get a behind-the-scenes look at how our virtualization stack has evolved, including a peak at how our latest generation platform works under the covers.”

The new Nitro hypervisor for Amazon EC2, introduced with the launch of C5 instances, is a component that primarily provides CPU and memory isolation for C5 instances. VPC networking, and EBS storage resources are implemented by dedicated hardware components that are part of all current generation EC2 instance families. It is built on core Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology, but does not include general purpose operating system components.

Hardware virtualization for cloud computing has come a long way, improving performance using technologies such as VT-x, SR-IOV, VT-d, and APICv, writes Brendon Gregg in his blog. “At Netflix, we’ve been using these technologies as they’ve been made available for instance types in AWS EC2. The latest AWS hypervisor, Nitro, uses everything to provide a new hardware-assisted hypervisor that is easy to use and has near bare-metal performance. It’s an exciting development in cloud computing: hardware virtualization is now fast.”

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