Amazon moves to make it easier to cut cost of cloud-based batch jobs

The company is also providing templates for website load testing and grids

Amazon Web Services has integrated configuration templates and auto-scaling features with its Spot Instances offering in an effort to make it easier for users to cut costs of running batch jobs in its cloud, the company said on Thursday.

Spot Instances allow users to bid on spare Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) capacity and run those instances, or virtual servers, for as long as their bid exceeds the current price. The price changes as requests come in and available supply changes, but everyone pays the same regardless of whether their maximum bid price was higher, according to Amazon.

To make Spot Instances more useful, Amazon has made it possible to combine them with its Auto Scaling technology, which increases the number of instances used to keep up with demand based on pre-defined conditions.

The integration allows enterprises to configure Auto Scaling groups that automatically make bids on capacity. Users can decide how many instances they want the group to include and how much they want to pay. A bid price can be altered at any time by creating a new configuration and attaching it to the Auto Scaling group, Amazon said.

To make Spot Instances easier to use, Amazon has also added integration with CloudFormation, which automatically creates stacks of resources described using templates. With these features, enterprises can now create CloudFormation templates that include a bid for Spot capacity, according to Amazon.

To help users get started, the company is providing new templates that are optimized to save money and manage interruption, Amazon said. They include a website load testing template and a grid-computing template using StarCluster, which is an open-source, cluster-computing toolkit that has been developed for Amazon's cloud.

In addition to that, Amazon is also releasing a new tutorial that shows how SNS (Simple Notification Service) notices can be used to send alerts on key changes in Spot pricing, it said.

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