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What are AWS EC2 Spot Instances?

What are AWS EC2 Spot Instances?

AWS is amazing! It’s a platform for cloud computing that offers a plethora of services to support individuals and businesses in creating, deploying, and managing their applications. And one of the coolest services they offer is Spot Instances! In this blog post, we will explore AWS Spot Instances, their benefits, use cases, and associated practices that are commonly used in real life.

Here are the following topics we are going to discuss:

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Introduction to AWS Spot Instances

AWS Spot Instances are a type of computing instance offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that allows users to bid for unused EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) capacity at significantly reduced prices compared to on-demand instances. 

These instances are a cost-effective option for businesses and individuals who can be flexible with their computing needs and are willing to run their workloads on instances that may be interrupted at any time. 

Spot Instances is designed to manage diversified applications such as data analytics, batch processing, and high-performance computing, and can also be integrated with other AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). 

With their scalability and flexibility, Spot Instances offer a unique opportunity for users to optimize their computing costs while maintaining high levels of performance.

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Working of an AWS Spot Instances

The working of AWS Spot Instances involve the process of businesses placing bids on available EC2 instances that are not in use. The bidding process is dictated by the laws of supply and demand, with the price of the instance determined by the highest bidder. 

As businesses bid on an instance, they stipulate the maximum price they are willing to pay for its use. If the bid surpasses the current market price, the business can use the instance for the duration that their bid outstrips the market price.

Nevertheless, if the market price escalates beyond the bid, the instance will be terminated, prompting the business to make a fresh bid if they wish to continue using the instance. Consequently, businesses should remain cognizant of the demand dynamics and adapt their bids accordingly. Hence, this is how an AWS Spot Instances works.

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AWS Spot Instances Pricing

AWS Spot Instances are a way to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud resources at a lower cost. The pricing for Spot Instances is different from traditional on-demand instances. Instead of paying a fixed price, Spot Instances allow you to bid for spare cloud capacity.

Here’s how it works in simple terms:

  1. Bidding: You place a bid for how much you’re willing to pay for a specific type of instance (like a virtual server). Your bid competes with others in the Spot Instance market.
  2. Availability: When your bid price is higher than the current market price, you get the Spot Instance. You can use it as long as your bid price remains above the market price.
  3. Savings: Spot Instances can be significantly cheaper than on-demand instances. However, they can be terminated if someone else is willing to pay more for the same resources.
  4. Flexible Use: They are great for workloads that can handle interruptions or for applications with variable resource needs.

In a nutshell, Spot Instances offer cost savings by allowing you to use AWS resources at a discount, but you need to be aware that your instances could be interrupted if the market price exceeds your bid.

Benefits of an AWS Spot Instances

AWS Spot Instances present numerous advantages to businesses, including:

Benefits of AWS Spot Instances
  • Cost-Effectiveness: AWS Spot Instances offers businesses a cost-efficient means of utilizing AWS resources. The pricing is frequently lower than the standard on-demand pricing, which allows businesses to lower their computing expenses.
  • Scalability: Spot Instance enables businesses to expand their computing resources when required. As businesses can bid on unused EC2 instances, they can leverage more resources when the demand is high.
  • Flexibility: This service of AWS allows businesses to use AWS resources for brief periods. Therefore, businesses can utilize the resources they need when they need them, without committing to long-term agreements.
  • Availability: Amazon EC2 Spot instances allows businesses to use AWS resources that may not be accessible with on-demand pricing. As businesses can bid on unused EC2 instances, they can access resources that may not be available with standard pricing.

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Use Cases of AWS Spot Instances

AWS Spot Instances is suitable for various use cases, including:

Use Cases of AWS Spot Instances
  • Big Data Processing: Spot instances for big data processing necessitates large computing power for brief periods. Businesses can bid on inactive EC2 instances to process their data, which may reduce their computing expenses.
  • Web Applications: AWS Spot Instances is compatible with web applications that require flexibility and scalability. Businesses can bid on unused EC2 instances to amplify their computing resources when required, which may improve the efficiency of their web applications.
  • High-Performance Computing: Amazon EC2 Spot instances can be utilized for high-performance computing that demands substantial computing power for short periods. Businesses can bid on inactive EC2 instances to complete their computations, which may reduce their computing expenses.
  • Machine Learning: Machine learning is a computationally intensive task that demands a high degree of flexibility and computational power. Spot instances for machine learning is a perfect for  workloads because it allows businesses to bid on unused EC2 instances to train their models, thereby saving them significant amounts of money on computing costs. 

Spot Instances VS Reserved Instances

Spot instances and Reserved Instances (RIs) are two pricing models to consider for Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances, each providing substantial cost reduction opportunities: spot instances may offer up to 90% discounts quickly but often get interrupted, while Reserved Instances provide 72% lower rates with long commitment periods; ultimately choosing which instance best meets your business requirements and current cloud cost challenges will depend upon which instance is right.

The below table describes the difference between the two in detail:

FeatureSpot InstancesReserved Instances
Pricing modelPrice depends upon current supply and demand in the spot market.Prices are fixed over one or three year commitment periods.
DiscountsUp to 90% less expensive than on-demand instancesPrices up to 72% lower than on-demand instances
Availability of instancesDependence upon availability will differ according to market fluctuations and needs.With capacity set aside for specific periods, our service remains available round-the-clock.
Risk of interruptionAt any point in time, two minutes’ notice could cause proceedings to be suspended without warning.There are no interruption risks involved.
FlexibilityFlexible with no long-term commitment requiredReduced flexibility caused by long-term commitments
Ideal forFlexible, noncritical workloads and fault-tolerant.Predictable and business-critical workloads.

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AWS Spot Instance Best Practices

Utilizing AWS Spot Instances can lead to substantial cost savings. However, to make the most of AWS’s flexible infrastructure, it’s crucial to design applications with fault tolerance in mind and the ability to adapt easily. Following best practices like these ensures you achieve maximum cost efficiency when using AWS’s versatile infrastructure.

  1. Optimize Your Workloads: Spot Instances are excellent for tasks like data processing, batch jobs, or testing, which can handle interruptions gracefully. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t rely on Spot Instances for critical applications or time-sensitive tasks.
  2. Set Sensible Bid Prices: When bidding for Spot Instances, bid strategically by setting reasonable prices. Consider historical spot prices and aim to set your bid slightly above their average. This approach increases your chances of obtaining instances while still enjoying cost savings.
  3. Monitor and Adjust: Stay vigilant about spot market prices by using AWS tools. This allows you to understand cost fluctuations and be prepared to make adjustments according to market conditions for the best balance of spending and performance.
  4. Utilize Spot Fleets: Spot Fleets are a valuable tool for diversifying instance types and availability zones while taking advantage of cost-effective spot pricing. They automatically request capacity from the most cost-efficient instance pools, ensuring high availability at reduced rates.
  5. Combine with On-Demand Instances: For optimal cost savings, stability, and performance across various workloads, consider using a hybrid approach. Combine Spot Instances with On-Demand and Reserved Instances as needed. This combination offers the best mix of cost reduction, stability, and performance based on your workload requirements.


AWS Spot Instances is undoubtedly a brilliant solution! It offers so many amazing advantages, like being super cost-effective, scalable, and flexible. And get this – the cloud computing sector is expected to see a huge surge in the adoption of AWS Spot Instances! As more and more businesses look to optimize their computing expenses, the demand for spot instances is only going to increase. It’s like a win-win situation – you get all the computing power you need at a fraction of the cost, and AWS gets to show off its amazing technology. 

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