T2 instances are types of instances that make use of CPU credits. This also means that not all instances types have CPU credits.

When you provision t2 instances, you get credits when your computer is running below the baseline level. What is the baseline level? It depends on the type of instance.

Instance type CPU credits earned per hour Maximum earned CPU credit balance vCPUs Baseline performance (% CPU utilization)
1
t2.nano
3 72 1 5%
1
t2.micro
6 144 1 10%
1
t2.small
12 288 1 20%
1
t2.medium
24 576 2 40% (of 200% max)*
1
t2.large
36 864 2 60% (of 200% max)*
1
t2.xlarge
54 1296 4 90% (of 400% max)*
1
t2.2xlarge
81 1944 8 135% (of 800% max)*

If you take a look at t2.micro, the baseline performance is 10%. CPU credits earned per hour is 3. If you stay under the baseline for 5 hours, for example, you accumulate 15 credits. This means that you can have your instances running at 100% for 15 minutes. If you go over 100% cpu for more than 15 minutes, you start to get throttled.

So depending on your workload type, think twice before choosing t2 instance. At the same time, t2 instances can be a great option for certain type of work.

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