Amazon opens EC2 up to auction-style payments

Amazon EC2 cloud

Amazon is putting its EC2 cloud up for auction, to sell off its unused capacity.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the launch of a new paid-for model called Spot Instances, which enables prospective customers to bid for capacity in Amazon's cloud.

The Spot Price changes depending on supply and demand but as long as the customer's bid exceeds that price the space is theirs.

Peter De Santis, general manger of Amazon EC2, said in a statement: "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."

He added: "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."

The company claimed this new way of purchasing capacity and compute power is well suited to flexible start-stop applications such as data processing, web crawling and video rendering.

Spot Instances run the same software images and are the same sizes as both On-Demand and Reserved Instances. This means customers can move between the different purchasing options as and when they chose.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.