Amazon Web Services has just done something rather interesting, in the form of making it possible to reserve servers in advance for short bursts of computing.
The new “Scheduled Reserved Instances” caper does what it says on the tin: you can decide what kind of server you want to run, how long to run it for and what you're prepared to pay. You can even add a schedule to get the same instance type each week. Or each day. Or whatever, provided you commit for a year.
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AWS is talking up the new plan as ideal for those who predictably run certain jobs at certain times.
Of course there's also an upside for AWS in this new feature. Running a big public cloud means spending astounding amounts of cash on kit and operations. The more AWS and its ilk can predict usage rates, the easier it gets to plan future purchases, cashflow and capacity.
AWS will probably argue that while Scheduled Reserved Instances give it more data with which to hone its practices, you'll be the ultimate winner because the insights it gains will help it to take cloud computing prices to even lower levels. The company can already point to what it claims are five to ten per cent savings compared to its existing Reserved Instances plans, which require you to commit to full-time use of an instance.
On the other side of the coin is that you'll be committing for a year in a market that often features price falls and increases in compute power, while also perhaps cutting yourself off from the chance of running AWS Spot Instances. AWS tweaked those last year so you can buy between one and six hours up front.
El Reg's cloud desk imagines AWS will shoo away such arguments by saying it offers an enormous smorgasbord of cloudy dishes from which to choose. Which is correct, even if the menu for Scheduled Reserved Instances is currently rather meagre: for now you can only choose between the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland) regions and C3, C4, M4, and R3 instance types. ®