Amazon Web Services Lets Users Sell Second-Hand Cloud

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

AWS opens a market for buying and selling spare reserved instances

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is to let users sell reserved cloud compute capacity when they don’t need it anymore.

Any customers who reserve capacity – known in Amazon-speak as EC2 Reserved Instances – rather than go for the on-demand model, can sell any the have left over, for instance when a cloud project ends before the reserve capacity term expires.

AWS announced the Reserved Instance Marketplace today, saying it would give customers more choice when it came to Reserved Instance term lengths and prices.

Democratising the cloud

“If you need additional capacity, you can compare the upfront prices and durations of Reserved Instances on the marketplace to the upfront prices of one and three-year Reserved Instances available directly from AWS,” explained Jeff Barr, evangelist at Amazon Web Services, in a blog post.

“The Reserved Instances in the Marketplace are functionally identical to other Reserved Instances and have the then-current hourly rates, they will just have less than a full term and a different upfront price.”

It’s not all good news for UK users, however. For now, sellers need to have a US bank account, and will need to complete an online tax interview before they reach 200 transactions or $20,000 in sales. At the time of publication, AWS had not confirmed whether customers with UK-only bank accounts would be able to take part in the new market.

Reserved Instances have to be held for at least 30 days before they can be sold on. Rather than rounding up to the nearest month, the remainder of instances has to be sold on rounded down to the nearest month. There is also a 12 percent seller fee.

“If you have 11 months and 13 days remaining on an RI, you can list the 11 months. You can set the upfront payment that you are willing to accept for your RI, and you can also customise the month-over-month price adjustment for the listing. You will continue to own (and to benefit from) the Reserved Instance until it is sold,” Barr added.

Regardless of the potentially prohibitive aspects of the new market, AWS has made a bold bid to further democratise the cloud.

In April, the company launched the AWS Marketplace, where developers can sell their cloud products based on Amazon’s infrastructure.

To learn more about the Reserved Instances Marketplace, check out the video below from AWS:

How well do you know the cloud? Take our quiz