Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to add capabilities to its cloud platform. Highlights of the latest batch include Scheduled Reserved Instances that can be configured to run at specific times, and CloudWatch Events that responds to changes in a customer's resources.
AWS started 2016 by adding a number of new features and services, including the launch of its WorkMail email service last week.
Scheduled Reserved Instances has been introduced to support customer workloads that run only for a limited time, on a periodic basis such as daily, weekly or monthly. As an example, Amazon cites operations such as a financial firm running a daily risk analysis calculation, or an animation studio performing compute-intensive 3D rendering overnight.
Customers can reserve capacity on a recurring basis over the course of a one-year term, the firm said. After purchase, the instances are available to launch during the periods specified by the customer.
The new feature is an extension of Amazon's existing Reserved Instances offering, which are available all the time once provisioned, but Scheduled Reserved Instances costs less, according to AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr.
"With this launch, we now have two types of Reserved Instances. The original Reserved Instance (now called Standard Reserved Instance) model allows you to reserve EC2 compute capacity for a one- or three-year term and use them at any time," he wrote on the AWS blog.
"The new Scheduled Reserved Instance model allows you to reserve instances for predefined blocks of time on a recurring basis for a one-year term, with prices that are generally five to 10 percent lower than the equivalent on-demand rates."
The feature is available now in Amazon's US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland) regions, with support for the C3, C4, M4, and R3 virtual machine instance types.
Meanwhile, CloudWatch Events brings the valuable ability to monitor specific AWS resources that a customer is consuming, and respond with some action if they hit a pre-defined threshold, such as an Elastic Block Store volume running low on available space.
Many customers have already built their own mechanisms to track, monitor and control the overall state of their AWS environments, but CloudWatch Events will enable this monitoring to be carried out with less overhead and greater efficiency, according to Amazon.
Key for such customers is that CloudWatch Events can deliver a stream of system events that describe changes in AWS resources on a near real-time basis, and rules can be used to route different types of event to other AWS services such as AWS Lambda functions or Amazon Kinesis streams in response.
"You can think of CloudWatch Events as the central nervous system for your AWS environment. It is wired in to every nook and cranny of the supported services, and becomes aware of operational changes as they happen. Then, driven by your rules, it activates functions and sends messages to respond to the environment, making changes, capturing state information, or taking corrective action," Barr wrote in an AWS blog entry detailing CloudWatch Events.
Amazon said that CloudWatch Events is available with a limited set of AWS services and events initially, but more will be added in the future based on customer feedback. It is currently available from the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions.
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