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AWS To Start Billing Linux Instances by the Second

Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Monday announced its plan to introduce per-second billing for certain Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances and Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes.

Starting on Oct. 2, all new and existing Linux EC2 instances (including on-demand, reserved and spot instances) across all AWS regions will be billed in second-long increments, according to AWS evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post.

Previously, EC2 users were required to pay for on-demand instances by the hour, whether or not they actually ended up using their rented compute power for that entire timeframe.

"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," Barr wrote in his blog.

The per-second billing scheme will also apply to provisioned storage for EBS volumes, as well as the Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR) and AWS Batch services, he said.

The move directly challenges AWS rivals Google and Microsoft Azure, which for years have used per-minute billing to charge users for running virtual machines (VMs) on their respective platforms. (Microsoft did launch a per-second billing scheme in July, but that applies only to containers running on Azure, not VMs.)

Barr touted the new per-second billing structure as a way for organizations to reduce the cost of unneeded instance usage, as well as a cost-effective way for developers to take advantage of the real-time capabilities of the cloud, such as applications involving continuous integration, analytics and batch processing.

There are some caveats, however. For instance, there is a one-minute minimum for each instance under this new billing scheme. In addition, per-second billing is not currently available for Windows instances or for "Linux distributions that have a separate hourly charge," Barr said.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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