Even with the almost unimaginable efficiencies achieved by the major public cloud providers, at any given time they still have excess capacity that is left idle. And as an incentive to try to get some return on those resources, both AWS and Google Compute Engine are willing to sell those resources at a steep discount, usually starting at around 90%.
What’s the catch? Well, the prices are market driven, set by the highest bidder. It’s a classic marketplace model: demand drives the value of assets. The challenge for public cloud users, however, is that at any given time the spot instance you are using can be reclaimed if someone outbids you. With Amazon, you have two minutes to vacate the instance before it is terminated; Google Cloud gives you 30 seconds.
This volatility has kept the bulk of companies using public clouds away from this model. How can I expect to keep my application running if I can lose a server at any given moment, especially if setting up the server to be production ready takes significant amount of time? It is not uncommon for configuration management tools to take 10 or more minutes to install packages and deploy an application. The time it takes to set up a server and the narrow window of time to vacate makes it extremely challenging to make effective use of these discounted instance types.
How containers help optimize cloud costs
Well as you might have guessed, containers can help with this obstacle by using the spot market. The pre-built nature of containers means startup times can be drastically smaller than with a dynamic, scripted or configuration management-driven approach. The required packages, application code, and various files have all been figured out at build time, and written to essentially a compressed archive (Docker image). This means startup times for your application in the sub-minute time frame are now within reach. Read more
We are very excited to announce a new partnership with Spotinst today to deliver intelligent management and migration of container workloads running on spot instances. With this new solution, we have developed a simple, intuitive way for using spot instances to run any container workload reliably and for a fraction of the cost of traditional applications.
Since the dawn of data centers we’ve seen continuous improvements in utilization and cost efficiency. But like Jevons’ Paradox, the more efficient we become in consuming a resource, the more of that resource we consume. So we always are seeking the newest, fastest and uber-optimized of everything.
How it works:
Spotinst is a SaaS platform that enables reliable, highly available use of AWS Spot Instances and Google Preemptible VMs with typical savings of 70-90%.
We’ve worked with the team at Spotinst to integrate with the Rancher API directly. The integration utlizes Docker “checkpoint and resume” (CRIU project). Based on metrics and business rules provided by Spotinst, Rancher can freeze any container and resume it on any other instance, automating the process a typical DevOps team might implement to manage container deployment. Read more