Amazon has launched a service which allows businesses to bid for spare computing capacity on its EC2 cloud computing service.
The service, dubbed Spot Instances, gives IT departments access to spare computing capacity, as long as their bid is higher than the current spot price for Amazon's computing power.
"Spot instances are a great innovation that, as far as I know, has no equivalent in the IT industry. It brings our customers a a powerful new way of managing the cost for those workloads that are flexible in their execution and completion times," he writes.
Suitable projects might include analysing data, long-term tasks such as converting movies from analogue to digital, or web indexing.
"For most of these tasks their completion is not time critical," writes vogels.
Under the programme, Amazon switches off applications if the customers bid falls below the spot prices. Customers can elect to re-start the work, once the spot price falls.
The spot price varies hourly depending on supply and demand, but customers never pay more than the maximum price they have specified, said Vogels.
The technique is suitable for applications that regularly save their work and status details, so that the can be restarted after going off-line.
Interview with Werner Vogels