Building or managing a data-intensive app, and suddenly realize you don’t need quite so many virtual machines (“instances”) from Amazon Web Services? Amazon has introduced a program that allows developers and companies to resell that additional capacity to others.
“Today we are increasing the flexibility of the EC2 Reserved Instance model even more with the introduction of the Reserved Instance Marketplace,” read a Sept. 12 posting on the Amazon Web Services Blog. “If you have excess capacity, you can list it on the marketplace and sell it to someone who needs additional capacity.”
Those who need additional capacity can compare the prices on the marketplace to those available via Amazon Web Services. “The Reserved Instances in the Marketplace are functionally identical to other Reserved Instances and have the then-current hourly rates,” the posting added, “they will just have less than a full term and a different upfront price.”
For those businesses with a need for a larger instance type, the marketplace can prove a cost-effective way to sell old reserved instances and purchase new, larger ones. Amazon also suggests the marketplace is useful for businesses with a need to shift applications to another AWS region. Finally, those running apps for a limited time can purchase reserved instances via the marketplace and then sell them once the app’s lifecycle is complete.
At least one analyst claims that Amazon’s new service fits a dire need in the IT world. “Let’s face it, we have been overspending on IT for decades,” Forrester analyst James Staten wrote in a Sept. 12 blog posting. “We buy more seats than we use because we might need them and we certainly buy more infrastructure and utilize it less than we should. We do it because it’s better to have more than you need than less; and frankly, it’s more painful to go back through our own financial systems to buy more—quickly.”
Staten uses the example of an app developer who needs a persistent footprint of 30 instances but doesn’t know if the app in question will need to exist past a near-future point. “That’s a lousy case for buying Reserved Instances,” he wrote. “And even if you did, you would only be able to get the 12-month discount at best. Now you can shop for 3-year or 5-year discounted RIs in the marketplace that are due to expire December 31. That’s good business planning.”
Amazon offers a variety of instances ranging from a Small Instance (1.7GB memory, 1EC2 Compute Unit, 160GB instance storage, etc.) to a High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large Instance (68.4GB memory, 26 EC2 Compute Units, 1690GB of instance storage, etc.) and many more. That sheer variety could make for a lively marketplace. And for those building applications and running data-intensive software, such a marketplace could be a good way to save a few bucks over the longer term.