Many of our customers ask for help in reducing the cost of their Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. While Amazon EC2 offers a variety of instance types — from 0.5 GiB (t3a.nano, t3.nano, t2.nano) to 24 TiB memory (u-24tb1.metal) — it can be challenging to pick the right resource for the right workload. Choosing the wrong instance type can adversely affect your AWS bill. The choice depends on the optimal speed, performance, and cost/pricing for your workload.

In this blog, we’ll look at Amazon EC2’s pricing models (with a focus on Amazon EC2 Spot Instances) and provide step-by-step instructions on how to access the nOps Spot Advisor to help you select appropriate instances to shift from On-Demand to Spot Instance pricing.

Amazon EC2 pricing models

As mentioned in a recent blog post on Rightsizing, “Amazon EC2 spend is most-often the most expensive item on your AWS bill. Amazon EC2 comes with a robust set of options for CPU, memory, and network I/O…Having so many options can be a double-edged sword—how do you choose?”

You can use the AWS Pricing Calculator to obtain an estimated cost of Amazon EC2. The estimate takes into account your choice of instance type, the number of instances, operating system, pricing strategy, required Amazon Elastic Block Storage (Amazon EBS), and the Region in which your instances are running.

Amazon EC2 is free to try. There are six ways to pay for Amazon EC2 instances: On-Demand, Compute Savings Plans, EC2 Instance Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, Spot Instances, and Dedicated Hosts (that provide you with EC2 instance capacity on physical servers dedicated to your use).

Let’s drill deeper into Amazon EC2 Spot Instances and how to determine when to shift from On-Demand to Spot Instance pricing.

What is an Amazon EC2 Spot Instance?

An Amazon EC2 Spot Instance is a type of instance that allows you to take advantage of unused Amazon EC2 capacity, reduce your compute costs, and improve application throughput.

These instances are available at up to a 90% discount compared to On-Demand prices. With this pricing model, you can scale your existing workload throughput by up to ten times and still stay within budget.

When to use Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

When you need to do large-scale processing, are flexible about when your applications run, and have applications that can be interrupted, Spot Instance pricing can be a cost-effective choice. Use cases include stateless, fault-tolerant, or flexible applications such as big data, containerized workloads, CI/CD, web servers, high-performance computing (HPC), and other test and development workloads.

nOps Spot Advisor

nOps’ Spot Advisor dashboard makes this decision easier by recommending the instances to shift from On-Demand to Spot Instance pricing and indicating the cost savings when the Spot Instance pricing option is used.

nOps scans all your Amazon EC2 instances. Using machine learning based on Amazon EC2 instance utilization patterns, nOps can discern those Amazon EC2 instances that are appropriate to shift from On-Demand to Spot Instance pricing across all Regions and Availability Zones in an AWS account.

How to access nOps Spot Advisor

The nOps Spot Advisor can be accessed on the nOps dashboard after login by taking the following steps:

1. Log in to your nOps dashboard.


2. On the top menu bar, click on “Cost Control” and select “Spot Advisor.”


3. This will bring up the Spot Advisor dashboard showing the list of instances, total number of instances found, and total possible savings. There is also information showing the names of the Amazon EC2 instances, their Availability Zones, instance type, current price, and the new price if the Spot Instance option is used. You can then use these insights to select instances to change from On-Demand to Spot pricing.


In conclusion

For your large-scale processing use cases, when you can be flexible about when your applications run and your applications can be interrupted, consider shifting from Amazon EC2 On-Demand to Spot Instance pricing. And, to make informed decisions on which of your Amazon EC2 instances are suitable to shift to Spot pricing, use the nOps Spot Advisor.

Want to start gaining sharper visibility to Amazon EC2 instances that can benefit from a shift from On-Demand to Spot Instance pricing, and see how much you can save? Click to get started with a free 14-day trial of nOps (or click here to sign in to nOps if you’re already a user) and use the nOps Spot Advisor.