Pricing Options

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-01-07 Print this article Print


3. Pricing Options-that add up to maximum flexibility and savings for AWS users 

As the AWS technology platform has become more and more robust, scale has enabled AWS to operate more efficiently and continue to lower prices a number of times, Selipsky said. In addition to passing on the benefits of scale in the form of lower pricing, AWS has a range of pricing options to choose from. 

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) pricing options include:

On-Demand Instances

On-Demand Instances let users pay for compute capacity by the hour with no long-term commitments or upfront payments. Users can increase or decrease their compute capacity depending on the demands of their application and only pay the specified hourly rate for the instances they use. On-Demand Instances are recommended for:

  • Users who want the low cost and flexibility of Amazon EC2 without any upfront payment or long-term commitment
  • Applications with short-term, spiky or unpredictable workloads that cannot be interrupted
  • Applications being developed or tested on Amazon EC2 for the first time
Reserved Instances

Reserved Instances let users make a low, one-time, upfront payment for an instance, reserve it for a one- or three-year term, and pay a lower rate for each hour they run that instance. Users are assured that their Reserved Instance will always be available for the operating system (e.g., Linux/Unix or Windows) and Availability Zone in which they purchased it. For applications that have steady state needs, Reserved Instances can provide savings of nearly 50 percent compared with using On-Demand Instances. Reserved Instances are recommended for:

  • Applications with steady state or predictable usage
  • Applications that require reserved capacity, including disaster recovery
  • Users able to make upfront payments to reduce their total computing costs even further
Spot Instances

Spot Instances provide the ability for customers to purchase compute capacity with no upfront commitment and at hourly rates usually lower than the On-Demand rate. Spot Instances allow users to specify the maximum hourly price that they are willing to pay to run a particular instance type. Amazon EC2 sets a Spot Price for each instance type in each region, which is the price all customers will pay to run a Spot Instance for that given period. The Spot Price fluctuates based on supply and demand for instances, but customers will never pay more than the maximum price they have specified. If the Spot Price moves higher than a customer's maximum price, the customer's instance will be shut down by Amazon EC2. Other than those differences, Spot Instances perform exactly the same as On-Demand or Reserved Instances.

Spot Instances are recommended for:

  • Applications that have flexible start and end times
  • Applications that are only feasible at very low compute prices
  • Users with urgent computing needs for large amounts of additional capacity
Users can go to Amazon EC2 Instance Purchasing Options for more details on all options.

Amazon S3 pricing options ...

In addition to standard storage pricing for Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), users have the option of Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) for Amazon S3. RRS is a storage option within Amazon S3 that enables customers to reduce their costs by storing noncritical, reproducible data at lower levels of redundancy than Amazon S3's standard storage. It provides a cost-effective, highly available solution for distributing or sharing content that is durably stored elsewhere, or for storing thumbnails, transcoded media or other processed data that can be easily reproduced, Selipsky said. The RRS option stores objects on multiple devices across multiple facilities, providing 400 times the durability of a typical disk drive, but does not replicate objects as many times as standard Amazon S3 storage, and thus is even more cost-effective. Reduced Redundancy Storage is:

  • Backed with the Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement (SLA).
  • Designed to provide 99.99 percent durability and 99.99 percent availability of objects over a given year. This durability level corresponds to an average annual expected loss of 0.01 percent of objects.
  • Designed to sustain the loss of data in a single facility.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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