February 12, 2024

Everything you need to know about AWS EC2 Pricing in 2024

10 min read

Everything you need to know about AWS EC2 Pricing in 2024
Everything you need to know about AWS EC2 Pricing in 2024
Everything you need to know about AWS EC2 Pricing in 2024


Let's talk about AWS EC2 Pricing.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is the backbone of AWS (Amazon Web Services) infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It is a web service that provides secure, scalable compute capacity in the cloud. With EC2, users can develop and deploy applications faster due to simplified web-scale cloud computing process. The service is designed to facilitate web-scale computing for developers.

EC2's simple interface allows you to configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. AWS EC2 significantly changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you use.

Understanding AWS EC2 pricing is crucial for managing costs and avoiding surprises on your AWS bill. This article will delve into the intricacies of AWS EC2 Pricing, discussing various pricing options such as On-Demand Instances, Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances. We'll also look at how these pricing models cater to different needs and offer flexibility in managing costs based on workload requirements.

In a world where businesses are increasingly moving towards cloud-based solutions for their infrastructure needs, comprehending the cost structure of services like EC2 becomes paramount. Whether you're a start-up or a large enterprise, optimizing costs while ensuring efficient performance is key.

By thoroughly understanding EC2 Pricing, you can make informed decisions about which instances best fit your needs and budget. The ultimate goal is to maximize the value you get from AWS without unnecessarily inflating your costs.

Understanding Amazon EC2 Pricing

On-Demand Instances

Amazon EC2 is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It's designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers and allows for scalable deployment of applications by providing a web services interface through which users can launch and manage server instances with varying capacities.

On-Demand Instances are a core component of AWS EC2 Pricing models. They offer flexibility and ease-of-use, appealing to those who require compute resources without any upfront payment or long-term commitment.

Key Features of On-Demand Instances:
  • No Long-Term Commitments: You can initiate or terminate an instance at any time without being tied down to lengthy contracts.

  • Pay-As-You-Go: Charges apply based on the actual usage of compute capacity, either by the hour or by the second, depending on the instance type.

  • Consistent Pricing Across Regions: While prices may vary across different geographic regions, within each region, the pricing remains consistent.

How On-Demand Instances Work:

Users select the desired instance type and simply start it up using the Amazon EC2 console, AWS command-line tools, or APIs. The instances are then billed from the time they're launched until they're terminated. Billing is calculated down to the second with a minimum usage of 60 seconds.

Per-second billing allows for granular cost management. This feature is particularly beneficial in environments where workloads are dynamic and unpredictable, such as development and testing or batch processing jobs that don't run 24/7.

Benefits of Using On-Demand Instances:
  • Flexibility: Perfect for applications with short-term, irregular workloads that cannot be interrupted.

  • Ease of Use: No need to plan ahead or predict usage; you can scale up or down as required.

  • Risk-Free: Eliminates risks associated with predicting pre-purchased capacity needs.

Cost Considerations for On-Demand Instances:

While On-Demand Instances offer unparalleled flexibility, they can also be more expensive than other pricing options if used as a long-term solution. They are ideal for short-term and unpredictable workloads but may not be cost-efficient for stable workloads with predictable usage patterns.

Examples of On-Demand Instance Pricing:

An m5.large instance in the US East (N. Virginia) region costs approximately $0.096 per hour. If an application requires this instance type for 10 hours a day over a month (assuming 30 days), the total cost would be around $28.80.

For an application requiring constant uptime throughout the month (720 hours), this cost increases to $69.12 per instance. In scenarios like these, alternative pricing models could offer significant savings.

Per-Second Billing Implications:

The minimum charge is one minute, after which you pay per second. For example, running an instance for 5 minutes and 15 seconds will incur charges for exactly that duration—5 minutes and 15 seconds—not rounded up to the nearest hour or minute beyond the initial first minute.

This per-second model provides cost savings when deploying applications that have batch processing workloads running for irregular intervals.

Consider a scenario where you run multiple instances intermittently throughout a billing cycle:

  • Instance A runs for 3 minutes and 40 seconds

  • Instance B runs for 7 minutes and 20 seconds

  • Instance C runs for 12 minutes

Instead of rounding each instance's usage up to the nearest hour—or even minute—you only pay for precisely what you use: in this case, a total of 23 minutes and zero seconds across all three instances.

In summary, understanding how On-Demand Instances are priced allows users to make informed decisions on managing their AWS EC2 costs effectively. Leveraging per-second billing helps optimize costs in dynamic computing environments where every second counts toward overall expenditure.

Savings Plans

Amazon EC2's Savings Plans can help you save up to 72% on your compute costs compared to On-Demand pricing. These plans offer a consistent billing model where you commit to a certain usage level for one or three years.

Benefits of Savings Plans

One of the key advantages of these Savings Plans is the per-second billing benefits. Unlike traditional contracts, you only pay for the compute time you use. This allows for precise cost management and optimization. For instance, if your applications have variable workloads or unpredictable traffic patterns, these plans can be beneficial.

Flexibility in Usage

With Savings Plans, there are no restrictions on instance types or sizes. You can apply the savings across a wide range of instances, providing flexibility in terms of usage. This is particularly beneficial if your workload requirements change over time.

How do Savings Plans Work?

Two types of Savings Plans are available:

  • Compute Savings Plans: These offer up to 66% off and provide the most flexibility. They apply to any EC2 instance regardless of region, size, OS, or tenancy.

  • EC2 Instance Savings Plans: These offer deeper savings of up to 72% and automatically apply to specific instance families within a region.

Example Scenario

As an example, let’s say you commit to $10/hour Compute Savings Plan for one year. You could utilize a combination of m5.xlarge instances in North Virginia region and r5.large instances in Ohio region concurrently for one hour at $10 total cost.

Bear in mind that if your compute costs exceed $10 in an hour, you'll pay On-Demand rates for the excess usage.

Estimating Costs with Savings Plans

To optimize costs when leveraging a combination of On-Demand Instances and Savings Plans:

  • Identify your steady state usage: Determine which instances are running 24/7 and would benefit from a Savings Plan.

  • Use AWS Cost Explorer: This tool can recommend Savings Plans based on your historical usage.

  • Consider business growth: If you anticipate increased usage, factor this into your plans to avoid paying higher On-Demand prices later on.

With Savings Plans, Amazon EC2 provides a flexible pricing model that supports cost-effective scaling of compute capacity in the cloud. By assessing your specific needs and understanding how these plans function, you can make strategic decisions that optimize costs while ensuring the availability and performance of your applications.

Reserved Instances

Amazon EC2 offers a pricing model known as Reserved Instances. This model provides an option to reserve EC2 compute capacity for a set period, in exchange for a significant discount compared to On-Demand Instance pricing.

Key Aspects of Reserved Instances

Here are the key aspects of Reserved Instances:

  • Capacity Reservation: Reserved Instances allow the reservation of compute capacity, ensuring availability when needed.

  • Significant Discounts: They offer substantial cost savings, with discounts applying to the hourly rate, irrespective of the operating system, instance type, or tenancy.

  • Range of Options: Amazon EC2 provides various types of Reserved Instances - Standard, Convertible, and Scheduled - to cater to different needs and levels of flexibility.

Standard vs Convertible vs Scheduled Reserved Instances

There are three types of Reserved Instances available:

  • Standard Reserved Instances: These provide up to 75% discount compared to On-Demand pricing. They are suitable when you have predictable workloads with steady-state usage.

  • Convertible Reserved Instances: These offer flexibility to change families, operating systems, or tenancies. Although they provide lower discounts than Standard Reserved Instances, they are ideal when your applications have changing compute requirements.

  • Scheduled Reserved Instances: These allow you to reserve capacity for specific recurring time frames with predictable workloads. For instance, an application that runs daily from 8 AM to 5 PM can significantly benefit from this option.

Cost Optimization Strategies

Here are two strategies to optimize costs with Reserved Instances:

  • Convertible Reservations: These allow changes in instance attributes while still benefiting from a capacity reservation. If your needs evolve over time, you can convert your instances into new instances that better suit your requirements.

  • Regional Benefit Utilization: With this feature, the capacity reservation is not tied to a specific Availability Zone. Instead, it's applied across all zones in a region, offering more flexibility in where you run your instances and improving your ability to handle traffic spikes.

In the realm of Amazon EC2, understanding the pricing mechanics is vital. Reserved Instances, with their capacity reservation and significant cost savings, offer an effective solution for predictable workloads. By choosing between Standard, Convertible, and Scheduled options and employing strategies like convertible reservations and regional benefit utilization, you can optimize your costs and better manage your compute capacity in the cloud.

Spot Instances

In the vast universe of Amazon EC2, Spot Instances emerge as a unique pricing model that allows bidding on unused EC2 capacity. This strategy can provide substantial cost savings, potentially making it an attractive option for many workloads.

Spot Instances are characterized by their pricing dynamics, which are driven by supply and demand. The cost associated with these instances fluctuates based on available EC2 capacity and customer demand. Hence, they are unlike On-Demand Instances where prices remain consistent.

However, there's a notable aspect tied to Spot Instances: interruptions. Since the Spot price is subjected to change and may exceed your bid at any moment, AWS reserves the right to interrupt these instances. This attribute makes them well-suited for fault-tolerant workloads or those with flexible start and end times.

The potential for interruption doesn't negate the value of Spot Instances; it simply adds a layer of complexity in how they are managed. Strategies for mitigating risks related to price volatility and sudden termination include:

  • Setting a maximum price: The maximum price you're willing to pay for an instance can be set at launch. If the Spot price exceeds this threshold, your instance might be terminated.

  • Using Spot Block: A Spot Block is a type of Spot Instance that runs continuously for a defined duration (1-6 hours), eliminating interruptions during the block duration.

  • Combining with other instance types: Mixing Spot Instances with On-Demand or Reserved Instances can help ensure availability while optimizing costs.

Applying these strategies can boost efficiency in managing AWS resources and controlling cloud expenses.

While using Spot Instances, remember that they are not suitable for all types of workloads. Workloads that require predictable execution times or cannot be easily restarted may not be ideally suited to this pricing model.

Despite their distinctive characteristics, Spot Instances hold a key position in the AWS EC2 Pricing landscape due to their cost-effectiveness. Understanding their dynamics can help businesses to make informed decisions about their cloud computing strategies.

Additional Pricing Considerations

When it comes to AWS EC2, it's not just about understanding the different instance pricing models. Several other services can influence the overall costs. Services such as Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling, and Elastic IP addresses need to be considered.

Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

ELB is a load balancer service that evenly distributes incoming application or network traffic across multiple EC2 instances to ensure fault tolerance and seamless user experience. While it optimizes the distribution of workloads, remember that ELB itself has its own pricing structure, separate from EC2 instances. The costs associated with ELB depend on the amount of data processed and the duration of load balancer usage.

Amazon CloudWatch

For monitoring and logging your EC2 instances, there's Amazon CloudWatch. It provides actionable insights to optimize applications, respond to system-wide performance changes, and resource utilization. CloudWatch pricing is based on several factors including metrics requested, logs ingested, log storage duration, and alarms set up in your account.

Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling

Auto Scaling allows automatic adjustment of your EC2 capacity according to conditions you define. This ensures that you maintain optimal performance even during demand spikes or lulls. While there are no additional charges for Auto Scaling itself, costs are incurred for the underlying resources that it manages.

Elastic IP addresses

Elastic IP addresses are static IPv4 addresses designed for dynamic cloud computing. While one Elastic IP address associated with a running instance is free, any additional ones incur costs. It's also important to note that if an Elastic IP address is not associated with an instance, you will be charged hourly.

Licensing Considerations

Moving on to software licenses - with AWS you have the flexibility to bring your own licenses (BYOL) for eligible software. This can potentially save costs, but it's essential to understand the licensing terms.

In conclusion, EC2 pricing extends beyond just the cost of instances. A comprehensive understanding of additional services and their pricing models is crucial for effective cost management.

Exploring Cost-Saving Opportunities

In the realm of cloud computing, understanding cost-saving opportunities with AWS EC2 is essential. It enables businesses to optimize resource allocation and budgeting while benefiting from the robust capabilities of Amazon's cloud services.

Different pricing models offered by EC2, namely On-Demand, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances, present opportunities for cost optimization. Each of these models has unique characteristics that cater to specific use cases:

On-Demand Instances

These instances are ideal for short-term, unpredictable workloads that cannot be interrupted. They offer flexibility as you pay for compute capacity per hour or second without any long-term commitments.

Reserved Instances

If your workloads have predictable usage patterns, Reserved Instances can yield substantial savings. They provide a significant discount (up to 72%) compared to On-Demand instance pricing and offer a capacity reservation when they are assigned to a specific Availability Zone.

Spot Instances

For applications that have flexible start and end times and can withstand possible interruptions, Spot Instances can offer the most significant savings (up to 90% off the On-Demand price).

To draw the maximum benefits from these pricing models, it's crucial to align them with your workload requirements. For example, combining Reserved Instances (for baseline workloads) with Spot Instances (for additional, sporadic compute needs) can lead to significant cost savings.

Comparing these pricing options will require an understanding of your workload characteristics, availability requirements, and budget constraints. Consider factors such as:

  • How steady or variable your compute needs are

  • The urgency of your need for computational resources

  • Your tolerance level for potential interruptions in processing

Tools like Amnic offer Cloud Cost Observability prove valuable in this context. They help monitor and analyze EC2 usage and spending patterns, providing critical insights into where savings can be achieved. These tools can track your ongoing costs and forecast future expenses, enabling you to make informed decisions about your EC2 usage.

Amnic can help you understand your EC2 costs on daily, weekly or monthly basis. Amnic's recommendations help ensure you have the best practices in place to ensure optimal costs to run a lean cloud infrastructure. Cloud cost observability solutions such as these offer visibility into cloud spends and ensure that teams are able to create a system of cost conscious engineering with cloud costs as one of the primary tenets.

Strategies for understanding and maximizing cost-saving opportunities with different EC2 pricing models can be multifaceted. It involves not just choosing the right pricing model but also continuously monitoring and adjusting your usage based on evolving needs and performance metrics.

By effectively comparing and evaluating these pricing options, businesses can achieve a balance between cost-efficiency and meeting their computational needs in the AWS EC2 environment. This approach paves the way for leveraging cloud capabilities to its fullest while maintaining financial prudence.


Grasping the intricacies of the EC2 pricing model is paramount for effective AWS budget management. The transition from capital expenditure to operating expenditure is streamlined through the use of AWS EC2, allowing businesses to allocate resources more dynamically and in line with actual usage.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud stands out as a cost-efficient solution for deploying virtual servers in the cloud, offering:

  • Flexibility: Scale resources up or down based on real-time demands.

  • Scalability: Match your company's growth without upfront investments.

  • Diverse Pricing Options: Tailor your approach to cost savings by selecting from On-Demand Instances, Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances.

For successful financial governance within a cloud ecosystem, a deep dive into each facet of the EC2 billing model is necessary. Commitment to understanding Amazon EC2's pricing structure aids in making informed decisions that align with organizational objectives.

Businesses are encouraged to harness the full spectrum of pricing mechanisms provided by Amazon EC2 to tailor their cloud infrastructure—balancing performance, cost-efficiency, and scalability. By doing so, they position themselves to capitalize on the technological agility offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) while maintaining control over their financial outlay.

If you want to understand your cloud costs better, reach out to us by clicking here. Amnic can break down your cloud bills to provide a granular view into your spends, ensuring your teams are able to manage their cloud costs more efficiently.

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