Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced per-second billing for some of its services in a move which it claims makes it more cost-effective than ever.
From 2 October, Linux instances of cloud computing service EC2 and storage service EBS launched in on-demand, reserved and spot forms will be billed in one-second increments.
The new method of charging will also apply to Amazon EMR and AWS Batch.
AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr said: "Back in the old days, you needed to buy or lease a server if you needed access to compute power.
"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. 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."
AWS said that there will be a minimum charge of one minute for each instance, with prices listed on a one-hour basis but charged down to the second.
One-second billing will however not be available for instances running on Microsoft Windows.
Barr added that the move will result in various price reductions, but that the main benefit will be the flexibility provided.
"Some of our more sophisticated customers have built systems to get the most value from EC2 by strategically choosing the most advantageous target instances when managing their gaming, ad tech, or 3D rendering fleets," he said.
"Per-second billing obviates the need for this extra layer of instance management, and brings the costs savings to all customers and all workloads.
"While this will result in a price reduction for many workloads, and you know we love price reductions, I don't think that's the most important aspect of this change. I believe that this change will inspire you to innovate and to think about your compute-bound problems in new ways."
Kate Hanagan, chief research officer at TechMarketView, said AWS has made the move to bring it more in line with competitors Google and Microsoft.
"This is of course a defensive move versus other hyperscalers (who can offer per minute billing) and is bound to appeal to developers looking for even more flexibility around cost," she said.
"It's hard to believe that it has been more than a decade since AWS launched its by-the-hour charging, which at the time was a significant step forward for cloud infrastructure flexibility."
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