AWS Launches Mac Instances for EC2

TL;DR

Amazon Web Services launches new Mac instances that allow running macOS on Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute to build, test, package, and sign XCode applications for Apple platforms. The platforms include macOS, iPadOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and Safari.

EC2 Mac instances can now be purchased with Savings Plans or on-demand
EC2 Mac instances can now be purchased with Savings Plans or on-demand
Key Facts
  1. 1

    The new EC2 Mac instances allow you to run macOS workloads on-demand in the AWS cloud for the very first time. Developers who create apps for various Apple platforms like Mac, iPhone, or iPad can access macOS environments in a matter of seconds, enhancing the flexibility and scalability of AWS for Apple developers.

  2. 2

    EC2 Mac instances are powered by physical Mac minis, with each of them running macOS 10.14 or 10.15, 32 GB of memory, and an 8th generation, 6-core Intel Core i7 (Coffee Lake) processor clocked at 3.2 GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 4.6 GHz.

  3. 3

    Customers can use EC2 Mac instances with other features like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for network security, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) for expandable storage, Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) for distributing build queues, and Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for OS image orchestration.

  4. 4

    EC2 Mac instances can now be purchased with Savings Plans or on-demand, and are now available in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and the Asia Pacific (Singapore) regions. It is expected to be available in other regions pretty soon.

Details

With the availability of EC2 Mac instances, Apple developers can focus entirely on creating apps instead of managing infrastructure to AWS. However, the EC2 Mac instances come at a base price of $1.083 per hour, $25.99 per day, or $9,490 per year, which is quite expensive. You will also need to pay extra for AWS storage.

In contrast, the Mac mini (Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 10G Ethernet, 512 GB disk) that powers the instances comes for $1,999. Since the running cost of the EC2 Mac instances is $25.99 per day, in just 77 days ($1999/$25.99= 76.91), you would have paid the same amount as a Mac mini.

If you divide $9490, the yearly cost, with the cost of a Mac Mini ($9490/$1999=4.74), you get 4.74, which is the number of Mac minis that you can buy for the same cost of running one in AWS for one year.

The EC2 Savings Plans sell Mac instances at a much lower cost than the per-hour plan. Investing in Savings Plans seems to be a more cost-effective option for your business.

With EC2 Mac instances, developers can now provision and access on-demand macOS compute environments in AWS for the first time ever, so they can focus on creating groundbreaking apps for Apple’s industry-leading platforms, rather than procuring and managing the underlying infrastructure.
avatar
David Brown
Vice President, EC2

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