AWS Nitro System


AWS Nitro System

This course explores the AWS Nitro System, covering the basics of the service, its core components, and its benefits.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn what the AWS Nitro system is
  • Understand the key components that make up the AWS Nitro system
  • Understand the difference between the Nitro cards of an EC2 instance
  • Explore the benefits of the AWS Nitro System

Intended Audience

This course is intended for those who are looking to learn more about the underlying architecture of EC2 instances at the virtualization level.


As a prerequisite to this course, you should be familiar with virtualization methods and concepts, including components such as hypervisors, in addition to an understanding of computing hardware and terms. 


Hello and welcome to this lecture which is going to focus on the AWS Nitro System. You may have heard about the Nitro system in discussions or during one of the many AWS conferences that are held throughout the year, and in this lecture, I aim to explain what the Nitro system is and some of its key features.

If you are running EC2 instances, then it’s highly likely that you are running instances that use the AWS Nitro System under the hood of the host.  

But what exactly is the AWS Nitro System? 

The Nitro system was created back in 2017 as a part of the continuous innovation efforts in compute by AWS, and it was initially launched with the C5 instance types. The Nitro system is essentially the platform that powers the latest and greatest of next-generation EC2 instance types and it effectively operates as a cluster of components as I will explain.  As I say, it was launched back in 2017, and all-new instance types since then have been using the AWS Nitro System.

Nitro is effectively a collection of different components, using both purpose-built hardware, and software, and it's only used by AWS. It was designed to allow AWS to increase their pace of innovation, in addition, to being able to meet the demands of their customer's requirements.

As a whole, AWS Nitro is compiled of 3 core components on the host, these being:

  1. Nitro Cards
  2. Nitro Security Chip
  3. Nitro Hypervisor

So let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail, starting with the Nitro cards.

About the Author
Stuart Scott
AWS Content Director
Learning Paths

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.