Amazon Web Services introduces per-second billing

Amazon Web Services has upped the ante for its cloud rivals by introducing per-second billing for certain services across all AWS Regions.

From 2 October, Linux instances that are launched via On-Demand, Reserved and Spot form services will be billed in one-second increments. The same billing method will also apply to batch processing and EC2 instances in EMR clusters (which provide a managed Hadoop framework for processing large amounts of data). AWS already offers per-minute billing.

Just over ten years ago, AWS caused a market storm by introducing its by-the-hour charging. Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at Amazon Web Services, announcing per-second billing, said: “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.”

Barr said: “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, for instance. Per-second billing obviates the need for this extra layer of instance management, and brings the costs savings to all customers and all workloads.”

Per-second billing does not however apply to instances running Windows. Kate Hanaghan, an analyst at TechMarketView, said: “This is of course a defensive move versus other hyper-scalers who can offer per minute billing and is bound to appeal to developers looking for even more flexibility around cost.”

She said: “AWS says it expects the pricing change to encourage customers to use its services in an even more ‘elastic’ way, spinning up resources to cope with massive processing requirements and then quickly reducing this as and when needed. Microsoft Azure is clawing back Amazon’s early lead in the market, but still remains in second place.”