I'm looking to run a high population Minecraft server (150+ players online at a time). For those unfamiliar with the Minecraft server, it is a (non-multithreaded) application written in Java (some plugins rely on multithreaded products such as MySQL, however). The server has a very high CPU requirement as well as disk I/O. RAM has never been an issue and is easy to come by. So my question is this, does Amazon EC2 have as good (or better) processing power and disk I/O as a conventional dedicated host? I don't know how EC2 processes via virtual cores, can anyone compare them to something like a Sandybridge? Same with the disk I/O, how does the disk virtualization compare with that of say a 6GB/s SATA drive or a SSD (both options from my dedicated host of choice)?

As far as cost, they're about the same, so which is preferable?

Thanks a lot!

Extra Info: For Amazon I'd be using the amazon High-Memory Extra Large Instance 17.1 GB memory, 6.5 ECU (2 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each, not really sure what that computes to in terms of GHz), 420 GB of local instance storage, 64-bit platform.

For the dedicated server, I'd be using Intel Xeon E3-1230 Sandy Bridge Processor (4 Cores / 8 Virtual Cores @ 3.2GHz), 16GB memory, and either 500GB 16MB SATA3 6GB/s Hard Drive or 60 GB OCZ / 6 Gbps SATA III Solid State Drive (not sure which is better).

1 Answer 1



EC2 Compute Unit (ECU) – One EC2 Compute Unit (ECU) provides the equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor.

I/O-wise, you'll never reach SSD levels. EBS has very spiky performance, but this can be made more consistent by RAIDing a number of EBS volumes together.

For this sort of use, you're most likely going to be better off buying dedicated. AWS is more cost-effective when you're taking advantage of its ability to scale up/down as load on a system changes.

  • I would agree, based on the specs posted for both, dedicated server looks to be more stoute. Mar 15, 2012 at 21:11
  • Awesome thanks, I'll go dedicated then. Is the SSD really that much faster when both the SSD and HD say 6Gbps SATA3?
    – Tony
    Mar 15, 2012 at 21:20
  • Yes, because of seek time. You won't get 6Gbps with a HD if you're accessing data spread all over the disk, as it has to physically move to those locations. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – ceejayoz
    Mar 15, 2012 at 21:24

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