What Is AWS Graviton? Here’s When To Use It

Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to dominate the cloud computing market by consistently innovating and introducing new technologies to improve performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency. One such innovation is AWS Graviton, a series of ARM-based processors designed specifically for cloud workloads. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what AWS Graviton is, its advantages, and the ideal scenarios for its use. We’ll also delve into practical tips on how to get the most out of Graviton instances. Whether you’re a cloud architect, developer, or IT manager, this article will provide valuable insights into leveraging AWS Graviton for your cloud solutions.

Understanding AWS Graviton: A Brief Overview

What is AWS Graviton?

AWS Graviton processors are custom-built by Amazon Web Services using ARM architecture. These processors are designed to deliver significant performance improvements and cost savings for a wide variety of cloud-based applications. AWS introduced the first generation of Graviton processors in 2018, followed by Graviton2 in 2019, and the latest Graviton3 processors in 2021.

Key Features of AWS Graviton

  1. Performance: Graviton processors are optimized for high performance, particularly for compute-intensive tasks. Graviton3, the latest iteration, offers up to 25% better performance than its predecessor, Graviton2.
  2. Cost-Efficiency: One of the main selling points of Graviton instances is their cost-efficiency. AWS claims that Graviton2 instances offer up to 40% better price/performance over comparable x86-based instances.
  3. Energy Efficiency: Graviton processors are designed to be energy-efficient, helping reduce the overall carbon footprint of running cloud applications.
  4. Compatibility: Graviton processors support a wide range of AWS services and are compatible with popular operating systems like Amazon Linux 2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Why Should You Consider Using AWS Graviton?

Cost Savings

One of the most compelling reasons to consider AWS Graviton is the potential for significant cost savings. Due to their efficiency and performance, Graviton instances often deliver better value for money compared to traditional x86-based instances. This is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to optimize their cloud spending without compromising on performance.

Performance Improvements

Graviton processors are designed to handle a wide range of workloads, from general-purpose applications to memory-intensive and compute-intensive tasks. With Graviton3 offering up to 25% better performance than Graviton2, users can expect faster processing speeds and improved application performance.


Graviton instances are highly scalable, making them ideal for applications that require rapid scaling to handle varying workloads. Whether you’re running a small application or a large-scale distributed system, Graviton can provide the necessary resources to meet your demands.

Energy Efficiency

In an era where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, the energy efficiency of Graviton processors is a notable advantage. By using Graviton instances, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint, contributing to greener IT operations.

When to Use AWS Graviton

General-Purpose Workloads

Graviton instances are well-suited for general-purpose workloads, such as web servers, containerized microservices, and development environments. They provide a good balance of compute, memory, and networking resources, making them a versatile choice for a wide range of applications.

High-Performance Computing (HPC)

For applications that require substantial computational power, such as machine learning, scientific simulations, and data analytics, Graviton processors can offer significant performance benefits. Their optimized architecture allows for faster processing and efficient handling of complex calculations.

Memory-Intensive Applications

Applications that require large amounts of memory, such as databases, caching solutions, and big data processing, can also benefit from Graviton instances. The enhanced memory performance of Graviton processors ensures that these applications run smoothly and efficiently.

Serverless Computing

AWS Graviton is also a great fit for serverless computing environments, such as AWS Lambda. Graviton2-based AWS Lambda functions can deliver better performance at a lower cost compared to x86-based functions, making them ideal for cost-sensitive applications with variable workloads.

Containerized Applications

Containerized applications, particularly those running on Amazon ECS or EKS, can achieve better performance and cost savings with Graviton instances. Graviton processors are optimized for containerized environments, providing a seamless and efficient experience.

How to Get Started with AWS Graviton

Step 1: Select the Right Instance Type

AWS offers a variety of Graviton-based instance types, including general-purpose (e.g., t4g, m6g), compute-optimized (e.g., c6g), and memory-optimized (e.g., r6g). Selecting the right instance type depends on your specific workload requirements. For example, if you need a balance of compute, memory, and networking, the m6g instances might be the best choice. For compute-intensive tasks, consider the c6g instances.

Step 2: Migrate Your Workloads

Migrating existing workloads to Graviton instances can involve some planning and testing. Here are some steps to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Compatibility Check: Verify that your applications and dependencies are compatible with the ARM architecture. Most popular software and libraries have ARM-compatible versions.
  2. Benchmarking: Conduct performance benchmarking to compare your current instances with Graviton instances. This will help you understand the performance improvements and cost savings you can achieve.
  3. Testing: Test your applications on Graviton instances to ensure they run smoothly. Look for any potential issues or optimizations that can be made.
  4. Deployment: Once testing is complete, deploy your workloads to Graviton instances. Monitor performance and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 3: Optimize for Graviton

To maximize the benefits of AWS Graviton, consider the following optimization tips:

  1. Use ARM-Optimized Libraries: Utilize libraries and dependencies that are optimized for ARM architecture to enhance performance.
  2. Enable Enhanced Networking: Take advantage of enhanced networking features, such as Elastic Network Adapter (ENA), to improve network performance.
  3. Monitor Performance: Continuously monitor the performance of your Graviton instances using AWS CloudWatch and other monitoring tools. This will help you identify any areas for improvement and ensure optimal performance.

Real-World Use Cases of AWS Graviton

Case Study 1: Netflix

Netflix, a leading streaming service, has adopted AWS Graviton processors to power its data processing workloads. By migrating to Graviton2 instances, Netflix achieved a 40% improvement in price/performance, allowing them to handle more streams at a lower cost.

Case Study 2: SmugMug

SmugMug, a popular photo-sharing platform, uses AWS Graviton instances to run its image processing workloads. The switch to Graviton2 resulted in significant cost savings and improved processing speeds, enabling SmugMug to deliver a better user experience.

Case Study 3: Snap Inc.

Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, leverages Graviton2 instances to run its messaging and multimedia processing applications. The adoption of Graviton has helped Snap Inc. reduce costs while maintaining high performance and scalability.

Common Questions About AWS Graviton

Q1: Are there any limitations to using AWS Graviton?

While AWS Graviton offers many benefits, there are a few limitations to consider:

  • Compatibility: Some applications and software might not be fully compatible with ARM architecture. It’s important to verify compatibility before migrating.
  • Ecosystem: The ARM ecosystem is growing, but certain tools and services may still be more optimized for x86 architectures.

Q2: How does AWS Graviton compare to other ARM-based processors?

AWS Graviton processors are specifically designed for cloud workloads and are optimized for AWS services. Compared to other ARM-based processors, Graviton offers better integration with AWS services, making it a more seamless choice for AWS customers.

Q3: Can I use AWS Graviton with my existing AWS infrastructure?

Yes, AWS Graviton instances can be integrated with your existing AWS infrastructure. They are compatible with various AWS services, including Amazon EC2, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, and AWS Lambda.

Q4: How do I determine if my application is suitable for AWS Graviton?

To determine if your application is suitable for AWS Graviton, conduct performance benchmarking and compatibility testing. Evaluate the performance gains and cost savings compared to your current instances. If your application shows significant improvements and compatibility, it is likely a good candidate for Graviton.


AWS Graviton represents a significant advancement in cloud computing, offering enhanced performance, cost-efficiency, and energy efficiency for a wide range of applications. By understanding what AWS Graviton is and when to use it, businesses can make informed decisions to optimize their cloud infrastructure. Whether you’re running general-purpose workloads, high-performance computing tasks, or memory-intensive applications, Graviton instances provide a compelling option to achieve better performance at a lower cost.

As the cloud computing landscape continues to evolve, AWS Graviton stands out as a powerful tool for businesses looking to innovate and stay competitive. By leveraging the benefits of Graviton, organizations can not only enhance their operational efficiency but also contribute to more sustainable and eco-friendly IT practices. If you’re ready to explore the potential of AWS Graviton, start by selecting the right instance type, migrating your workloads, and optimizing for ARM architecture to unlock the full potential of this cutting-edge technology.

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