Amazon Announces Spot Instances For Amazon EC2

Amazon Web Services LLC, an Amazon.com company announced Spot Instances, a new option for purchasing and consuming
Amazon EC2 compute resources. With Spot Instances, customers bid on
unused Amazon EC2 capacity and run those instances for as long as their
bid exceeds the current Spot Price. The Spot Price changes periodically
based on supply and demand, and customers whose bids exceed it gain
access to the available Spot Instances. Spot Instances are complementary
to On-Demand Instances and Reserved Instances, providing another way to
obtain Amazon EC2 compute capacity. 

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 modeling and analysis, web crawling and load
testing. 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. In addition, Spot Instances
can provide access to large amounts of additional capacity for
applications with urgent needs. When these needs arise, users can
specify a higher maximum bid, which will raise the priority of a request
for capacity.

To use Spot Instances, customers place a Spot Instance request,
specifying the instance family, size and the region they desire as well
as the number of Spot Instances they want to run and the maximum price
they’re willing to pay per instance. If a customer’s maximum price
exceeds the current Spot Price, the customer’s instances will run until
they choose to terminate the instances or their maximum bid falls below
the Spot Price (whichever is sooner). Like other Amazon EC2 instances,
Spot Instances can be terminated when they are no longer needed. If the
Spot Price goes above a user’s maximum bid and the instance is
terminated by Amazon EC2, the user will not be charged for any partial
hour of usage.

"As customers continued to expand their use of AWS, they started asking
if additional pools of capacity were available, even if only for a few
hours at a time. Some customers were looking to reduce costs in exchange
for being flexible as to when they run their application; others told us
they were willing to pay more when they had urgent, high volume needs,”
said Peter De Santis, General Manger of Amazon EC2. “Because of the
dynamic nature of supply and demand in the Amazon EC2 environment, we
developed Spot Instances to let customers take advantage of our unused
capacity while specifying a price they are willing to pay."

Spot Instances run the same software images and come in the same compute
instance families and sizes as both On-Demand and Reserved Instances, so
users can easily move between the purchasing options that best meet the
needs of their application. On-Demand Instances allow you to pay a fixed
rate by the hour with no commitment; Reserved Instances provide capacity
at a lower hourly rate in exchange for a low, one-time, upfront payment;
and Spot Instances provide the ability to bid whatever price you want on
unused capacity for applications with flexible start and end times.
Together, these three different purchasing models give users the
flexibility to optimize costs.

"Spot Instances and the Condor scheduler will enable a ‘no compute cycle
left behind’ policy for running scientific and financial calculations on
Amazon EC2," said Jason Stowe, CEO of Cycle Computing. "Our CycleCloud
service provides secure, elastic compute clusters on Amazon EC2, helping
our customers, including Eli Lilly, Varian Inc. and Pfizer, run
molecular modeling, next-generation sequencing and risk-analysis
calculations. With Spot Instances, CycleCloud can execute calculations
when the price is right, resulting in real cost management for our
clients."

“Clarity Solutions provides advanced investment platforms and advisory
services to financial institutions. We’re using On-Demand instances to
provide our clients with deep insight into opportunities and risks in
structured finance and credit derivatives markets,” said Adam Kirby, CEO
of Clarity Solutions. “We’re excited about Spot Instances because they
enable our clients to lower costs on batch processing and provide access
to a pool of resources for time-critical workloads. We see this as just
another example of how AWS is pioneering the future of cloud computing.”

“Spot Instances enable cost-efficient computing across the spectrum of
simulations run by our pharmaceutical and life sciences customers. We
can now run jobs that had previously been set aside as too expensive to
process,” said Chris Dagdigian, Founder and Director of Technology at
Bioteam, Inc. “With Spot Instances, those jobs are coming off the shelf
and further contributing to the product development process.”

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