Over the past two months, we have had the opportunity to share several exciting developments regarding Spot Instances. We have told you how to Run Amazon Elastic MapReduce on EC2 Spot Instances, we published Four New Amazon EC2 Spot Instance Videos, and we outlined the excitement around Scientific Computing with EC2 Spot Instances. Others in the community have also shared their experiences with Spot Instances. You may have read about Cycle Computing running a 30,000 core molecular modeling workload on Spot for $1279/hour or Harvard Medical School moving some of their workload to Spot after a day of engineering, saving roughly 50% in cost.
In typical Amazon fashion, we like to keep the momentum going. We've combined two popular AWS features, Amazon EC2 Spot Instances and the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). You can now create a private, isolated section of the AWS cloud and make requests for Spot Instances to be launched within it. With this new feature, you get the flexibility and cost benefits of Spot Instances along with the control and advanced security options of the VPC.
Based on feedback from customers in the community, we believe this feature will be ideal for use cases like scientific computing, financial services, media encoding, and "big data." As an example, we have received a number of requests from members the scientific community who have been mining petabytes of confidential (e.g. human genome or sensitive customer data) and/or proprietary data (e.g. patentable). Traditionally they have set up their own software VPN connection and launch Spot Instances. Now they can leverage all of the security and flexibility benefits associated with VPC.
We have also heard a number of customers looking for ways to integrate on-premise and cloud solutions, and to burst into the cloud. These customers now can leverage VPC and Spot for a great low cost solution to this "computation gap."
Launching Spot instances into an Amazon VPC is similar to launching Spot instances, but you need to specify the VPC you would like to run your Spot Instances within. Launching Spot Instances into Amazon VPC requires special capacity behind the scenes, which means that the Spot Price for Spot Instances in an Amazon VPC will float independently from those launched outside of Amazon VPC.
The AWS Management Console includes complete support for this new feature combo. You can examine the spot price history for EC2 instances launched within a VPC:
You can use the console's Request Instances Wizard to make a request to launch Spot Instances in any of your VPCs at the maximum price of your choice (just be sure to choose VPC for the Launch Into option):
For more information on using Spot Instances in VPC, please visit the EC2 User's Guide.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of Spot Instances, I recommend that you spend a few minutes watching the following videos:
Getting Started With Spot Instances
Deciding on Your Spot Bidding Strategy
How to Manage Spot Instance Interruption
There is also a video coming soon on the how to launch a Spot Instance within VPC, so check back at the Spot Instance web page again soon. I will tweet when it becomes available (please follow me (@jeffbarr) for more details).
As I mentioned, the Spot service has been rapidly evolving, and we would love to get your feedback on the next features you’d love to see. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more feedback. Alternatively, to learn more about Spot, please visit the Spot Instance page for more details.