One of the great benefits of cloud computing from Alibaba Cloud is flexibility when it comes to payments. Whether you need a server instance for an hour, a month, a year, or forever, there's a billing option to suit.
For servers by the hour, or even by the second, simply choose pay-as-you-go (PAYG) when you create the instance. For servers by the month, choose the simple subscription option and enable auto-renewal. You can always cancel before a month end if you no longer need the machine.
If you need a server in order to perform a specific task but you don't need it right now, pre-emptible instances are a great solution. You bid the per-hour price that you're willing to pay, in a market that varies according to supply and demand. When the resource becomes available at the price you offered, your server starts running automatically. It continues for at least one guaranteed hour and will then stop when you specified that it should, or when the price rises above your bid amount - whichever comes first.
While PAYG provides the ultimate in flexibility when you need a server right now, it does cost more than a monthly subscription. However, Reserved Instances give you a way to get PAYG flexibility at around the same price as monthly subscriptions.
An Alibaba Cloud reserved instance is essentially a discount coupon, which you buy in advance and then redeem against PAYG servers as and when you need them. Discounts of more than 75 percent are achievable. When you buy your reserved instances, you can choose whether to commit to paying half, all or none of the amount up front, over either one or three years. The more you choose to pay, and the longer the term, the greater the discount. What you don't pay up front is charged at standard PAYG rate.
You need to specify the region and zone, instance size and operating system when you purchase your reserved instances. After purchase, your discount will automatically be available to choose when you create matching PAYG instances on Alibaba Cloud. Note that the discount is only for the server capacity (vCPUs and RAM). Storage and bandwidth are still charged separately.
Reserved instance purchases are risk free. You can receive a refund for any coupons that have not been used, just by raising a support ticket. You can even split a reserved instance if you wish, such as creating two medium-sized server instances rather than the larger one that you initially paid up-front for. The reverse is also true - you can combine and merge reserved instances too.
Arguably the greatest benefit of cloud computing is the ease and speed with which you can create a new server and destroy it just as quickly when it's no longer required. While this level of flexibility generally comes at a cost premium, Alibaba Cloud reserved instances give you all of the flexibility of pay-as-you-go cloud computing at a significant discount. While a monthly subscription can save you up to 60% on your server costs, compared with standard PAYG, using reserved instances can actually save you even more. Up to 65 percent, in fact. This means that you get all of the benefits of PAYG, for less than the cost of paying by standard monthly subscription.
To read more about how much you could save on your cloud computing costs with Alibaba Cloud reserved instances, check out our Reserved Instances Overview. Or to get started and purchase reserved instances now, just head to https://www.alibabacloud.com/product/ecs/reserved_instances
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