Back in the old days, you needed to buy or lease a server if you needed access to compute power. When we launched EC2 back in 2006, the ability to use an instance for an hour, and to pay only for that hour, was big news. The pay-as-you-go model inspired our customers to think about new ways to develop, test, and run applications of all types.
Today, services like AWS Lambda prove that we can do a lot of useful work in a short time. Many of our customers are dreaming up applications for EC2 that can make good use of a large number of instances for shorter amounts of time, sometimes just a few minutes.
Per-Second Billing for EC2 and EBS
Effective October 2nd, usage of Linux instances that are launched in On-Demand, Reserved, and Spot form will be billed in one-second increments. Similarly, provisioned storage for EBS volumes will be billed in one-second increments.
Per-second billing also applies to Amazon EMR and AWS Batch:
Amazon EMR – Our customers add capacity to their EMR clusters in order to get their results more quickly. With per-second billing for the EC2 instances in the clusters, adding nodes is more cost-effective than ever.
AWS Batch – Many of the batch jobs that our customers run complete in less than an hour. AWS Batch already launches and terminates Spot Instances; with per-second billing for the EC2 instances, batch processing will become even more economical.
Some of our more sophisticated customers have built systems to get the most value from EC2 by strategically choosing the most advantageous target instances when managing their gaming, ad tech, or 3D rendering fleets. Per-second billing obviates the need for this extra layer of instance management, and brings the costs savings to all customers and all workloads.
While this will result in a price reduction for many workloads (and you know we love price reductions), I don’t think that’s the most important aspect of this change. I believe that this change will inspire you to innovate and to think about your compute-bound problems in new ways. How can you use it to improve your support for continuous integration? Can it change the way that you provision transient environments for your dev and test workloads? What about your analytics, batch processing, and 3D rendering?
One of the many advantages of cloud computing is the elastic nature of provisioning or deprovisioning resources as you need them. By billing usage down to the second we will enable customers to level up their elasticity, save money, and customers will be positioned to take advantage of continuing advances in computing.
Things to Know
This change is effective in all AWS Regions and will be effective October 2, for all Linux instances that are newly launched or already running. There is a 1 minute minimum charge per-instance.
Per-second billing is not currently applicable to instances running Microsoft Windows or Linux distributions that have a separate hourly charge.
List prices and Spot Market prices are still listed on a per-hour basis, but bills are calculated down to the second, as is Reserved Instance usage (you can launch, use, and terminate multiple instances within an hour and get the Reserved Instance Benefit for all of the instances). Also, bills will show times in decimal form, like this:
The Dedicated Per Region Fee, EBS Snapshots, and products in AWS Marketplace are still billed on an hourly basis.