Article Amazon Web Services August 8, 2017

Ten Steps to Reducing Public Cloud Bills: Leverage Spot Pricing

Cost savings are a huge opportunity for organizations operating workloads in the cloud—particularly if they understand how to purchase and manage their instances efficiently. By leveraging Spot Instances, specifically, organizations can save 50-90% on cloud computing costs.

Gartner’s recent resource, Ten Moves to Lower Your AWS IaaS Costs, highlights this and other tactical tips for reducing cloud expenses. In previous posts, we offered our take on everything from creating a cloud management toolkit to benchmarking instances to leveraging CloudFront. In this article, we look at Gartner’s recommendation to ensure your organization’s EC2 fleet is fully optimized with the use of Spot Instances.

The Advantages of Spot Instances

Amazon EC2 instances come in several shapes and sizes, and Spot Instances are perhaps the most advantageous in terms of cost-savings. Organizations can big on excess compute capacity at a significantly reduced rate compared to On-Demand instances. This enables accelerated growth and scale for cloud computing applications.

With Spot Instances, organizations can can specify the amount they are willing to pay for an instance. If the Spot market price dips below this amount, organizations are able to reap the benefits of discounted capacity. Spot Instances boast the same reliability, performance, and elasticity AWS EC2 users are accustomed to, at a best-value rate.

Additionally, Spot Instances promise improved throughput for applications, enabling them to run and scale more efficiently. Applications such as web services, image rendering, and big data analytics can see 2-10x the compute capacity they might otherwise achieve, according to AWS.

Proactive Spot Instance Management

Organizations leveraging Spot Instances can ultimately recognize 20-90% savings in compute costs, as well as added efficiencies. However, this advantage is not without risk: because Spot Instances are acquired on a dynamic, fluctuating bid market, there is always the potential for instability or downtime, without the proper planning in place.

If the spot market price rises above that which an organization specified as their maximum bid, they have just two minutes to move their application before losing that instance. This completely negates the possibility of running any critical workloads in the cloud—at least with Spot Instances.

However, there are ways to proactively avoid such performance interruptions. Organizations leveraging Spot Instances should consider two important tasks in their spot management plan:

  • Managing blended instance clusters, achieving a balance between cost and performance across On-Demand, Reserved, or Spot Instances
  • Planning for potential spikes or dips in demand to maintain performance and decrease capacity, as needed, so as not to waste costs

Of course, there are tools to help. Earlier this spring, Amazon introduced the EC2 Spot Advisor Console, to guide customers in their Spot Instance usage. The tool offers recommendations for purchasing Spot Instances, along with an estimated price per hour.

Additionally, tools like CloudCheckr cloud management platform offer Spot Management, powered by Spotinst, which centralizes key insights to drive efficiencies in the Spot market. Not only does CloudCheckr Spot Management help to manage blended clusters, predict capacity changes, and automate tasks to address fluctuations—the platform can also provide first-in-class predictive insight to help Spot users avoid application interruptions. If a termination is detected, applications are seamlessly transitioned to the next available, lowest in cost Spot Instance. With CloudCheckr Spot Management, organizations can achieve the lowest possible cost on EC2 instances, with maximum up-time.

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