Amazon EC2 urges customers to name their price
Let the little fluffy cloud bidding wars commence
Amazon Web Services LLC has launched a new auction room-style purchasing package for its EC2 cloud computing rental service.
The firm said in a statement today that customers could now use a new option called “Spot Instances” that allows them to bid on unused Amazon EC2 capacity and run those instances for as long as their tender exceeds the current spot price.
However, the spot price will fluctuate regularly as it will be determined by supply and demand.
AWS, which is an Amazon.com subsidiary, said the service was available for free to those customers who already use its On-Demand Instances and Reserved Instances options in EC2.
“Spot Instances are well-suited for applications that can have flexible start and stop times such as image and video conversion and rendering, data processing, financial modelling and analysis, web crawling and load testing,” said AWS.
"By being flexible on when their instances run, coupled with the ability to bid what they’re willing to pay for capacity, customers can significantly lower their Amazon EC2 costs.”
Spot Instances can also open the vault on large amounts of extra cloud capacity for apps that need to be delivered speedily, said the company. ®
This is a smart move by Amazon. The business model for cloud means you need to have huge amounts of excess capacity sitting around doing nothing. So this is a smart way to get something for it – even a contribution to overhead helps pay the bills! This is why cloud will never be less expensive than dedicated servers, due to the cost of the unused excess capacity you need on hand. Other providers may not be able to match this as their billing systems may not be flexible to offer variable pricing.
Spot instances: perfect for password cracking
Here is a perfect example of an app born to use spot instances:
Any reason NOT to use it?
Say the price for a regular EC2 instance is $0.10/hr. What happens if I bid $0.101 for a spot instance? Is there any reason at all why I would continue to use a regular instance when I can do that instead?