Cloud spend is anticipated to continue its massive growth trajectory for the foreseeable future. However, the spend does not have to match that same growth curve! To help our Clients maintain sound Cloud Optimization programs, we've assembled a series of articles and tips called: 12 for '21 Cloud Optimization Series (note: request a download of all 12 here).
Our seventh chapter in the series: Use Spot Pricing
Spot Instances are spare compute capacity at a steep discount (up to 90%) to On-Demand Instances. Spot Instances can go down with very little notice. While they are frequently used to supplement On-Demand Instances, they aren’t meant to handle 100% of your workload due to the potential service disruption. In the spot instance model, you receive compute instances through a bidding process, in which you specify the hourly price you are prepared to pay. You bid your price, and when an EC2 instance is offered at that price, the instance is launched.
When to Use Spot Instances?
Spot Instances are well-suited for fault-tolerant and flexible applications. Some common use cases include: 1)Web services 2) Batch Processing 3) large scale testing 4) Big data analytics 5) Parallel computation 6) Machine learning . They may also be helpful to add capacity to infrastructure that is already running on On-Demand Instances.
When to Avoid Them
Spot Instances are not a good choice for sensitive workloads, databases or client-facing systems that require dedicated resources or cannot recover e.g., web servers or backend APIs where up-time is critical.
Spot Instance Best Practices
There are several factors to keep in mind if you choose to use spot instances in staging, testing or production environments. The most important best practices include:
- Use Spot Fleets (AWS) - Spot Fleets are collections of Spot Instances that automatically launch to meet a target capacity. They make it a lot easier to manage Spot Instances in the aggregate.
- Look for right instances and regions - Some Spot Instances have less price volatility than others, it is usually a function of instance types and/or location. Pick these ones in priority to avoid unexpected price increases.
- Ensure Continuity - EC2 Spot Instances can be configured to pause and resume as capacity becomes available. This is a convenient feature to keep in mind and to avoid sudden crash or data loss.
The Bottom Line
Spot Instances could play an important role in lowering your compute costs. In addition to the common use cases we’ve covered above, you may want to explore ways to use it in production web servers to realize significant savings or other unconventional strategies that might make sense for your specific situation.
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