AWS Reserved Instance Marketplace (Amazon Web Services Reserved Instance Marketplace)

Contributor(s): David Carty

The AWS Reserved Instance Marketplace (Amazon Web Services Reserved Instance Marketplace) is an online store in which businesses can buy or sell new or partially used Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Reserved Instances. AWS Reserved Instances are virtual servers purchased at contract pricing. The AWS Reserved Instance Marketplace is accessible through the AWS Management Console.

Reserved Instances (RIs) are one of three pricing options for renting virtual servers in AWS. RIs are sold at contract prices to businesses.

Using the AWS Reserved Instance Marketplace, buyers can browse for compute resources, or instances, that have a variety of upfront prices and unused term lengths.

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When making a purchase in the AWS Reserved Instance Marketplace, buyers can search for instances by platform, instance type, availability zone, term, tenancy and level of utilization. Used instances are designated as "3rd Party" options under the "Seller" heading. Several RIs can be sorted by rates, upfront price, term and other criteria.

Companies can also make money by selling the reserved capacity of Reserved Instances they no longer need. Sellers auction off Reserved Instances for a number of reasons, such as when a project using that instance completes before the instance term is up, or when the seller wants to move into a new availability zone or spin up a new instance type.

Reserved Instances are only available for purchase through the marketplace 30 days after activation and once AWS receives upfront payment. Reserved Instances cannot be sold if less than one month is left in the contract term. Term lengths are rounded down to the nearest month.

Amazon charges a 12% service fee on all sales. Sellers must register through AWS and must provide additional information for tax purposes if they exceed $20,000 or 50 transactions in a calendar year. Sellers must also specify a bank in the U.S. in which to disburse funds. The marketplace does not yet support worldwide banks. Reserved Instances originally sold in the GovCloud region or as part of a tiering discount are not eligible for sale in the AWS Reserved Instances Marketplace.

This was last updated in July 2015

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