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AWS to adopt per-second billing for select cloud services from October 2017

Cloud giant claims the world of tech is a very different place than it was in 2006 when it debuted its per-hour billing model

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is planning to start billing users of select services within its cloud portfolio on a per-second basis, which could help its customers cut their costs.

From 2 October 2017, AWS Batch, EMR, EBS and EC2 users running Linux-based instances will be billed in one-second increments when they access those services in any cloud region, AWS confirmed in a blog post.

However, at the time of writing, per-second billing will not be available to users of Windows-based EC2 instances from that date.

“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,” wrote Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, in the blog post. “The pay-as-you-go model inspired our customers to think about new ways to develop, test and run applications of all types.

“Today, services like AWS Lambda prove that we can do a lot of useful work in a short time. Many of our customers are dreaming up applications for EC2 that can make good use of a large number of instances for shorter amounts of time, sometimes just a few minutes.”

Google’s senior management team has previously criticised the use of the per-hour billing models, favoured by Amazon and others, because users can end up paying more than they need to for a few minutes of cloud use.

The AWS post said the move should cut the cost of running various workloads for its customers, but the company stressed that this is not the only benefit users stand to gain.

Read more about cloud costs

“I believe that this change will inspire you to innovate and to think about your compute-bound problems in new ways,” Barr continued. “How can you use it to improve your support for continuous integration? Can it change the way that you provision transient environments for your dev and test workloads? What about your analytics, batch processing and 3D rendering?

“One of the many advantages of cloud computing is the elastic nature of provisioning or de-provisioning resources as you need them. By billing usage down to the second, we will enable customers to level up their elasticity, save money, and customers will be positioned to take advantage of continuing advances in computing.”

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)