How Reserved Instances Work
Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances and the Reserved Instance Marketplace can be a powerful, cost-saving strategy for running your business. However, before you use Reserved Instances or the Reserved Instance Marketplace, ensure that you meet the requirements for purchase and sale. You also must understand the details and restrictions on certain elements of Reserved Instances and the Reserved Instance Marketplace—including seller registration, banking, using the AWS free tier, dealing with cancelled instances, and so on. Use this topic as a checklist for buying and selling Reserved Instances, and for buying and selling in the Reserved Instance Marketplace.
To purchase and modify Reserved Instances, ensure that your IAM user account has the appropriate permissions, such as the ability to describe Availability Zones. For information, see Example Policies for Working With the AWS CLI or an AWS SDK and Example Policies for Working in the Amazon EC2 Console.
AWS account—You need to have an AWS account in order to purchase Reserved Instances. If you don't have an AWS account, read and complete the instructions described in Setting Up with Amazon EC2, which provide information on signing up for your Amazon EC2 account and credentials.
AWS free tier—The AWS free usage tier is available for new AWS accounts. If you are using the AWS free usage tier to run Amazon EC2 instances, and then you purchase a Reserved Instance, you are charged under standard pricing guidelines. For information about applicable services and usage amounts, see AWS Free Tier.
Buying Reserved Instances
Usage fee—With Reserved Instances, you pay for the entire term regardless of whether or not you use it.
Tiered discounts on purchases—The Reserved Instance pricing tier discounts only apply to purchases made from AWS. These discounts do not apply to purchases of third-party Reserved Instances. For information, see Understanding Reserved Instance Discount Pricing Tiers.
Cancellation of purchase—Before you confirm your purchase, review the details of the Reserved Instances that you plan to buy, and make sure that all the parameters are accurate. After you purchase a Reserved Instance (either from a third-party seller in the Reserved Instance Marketplace or from AWS), you cannot cancel your purchase. However, you may be able to sell the Reserved Instance if your needs change. For information, see Listing Your Reserved Instances.
Selling Reserved Instances and the Reserved Instance Marketplace
Convertible Reserved Instances— Only Amazon EC2 Standard Reserved Instances can be sold in the Reserved Instance Marketplace. Convertible Reserved Instances cannot be sold.
Reserved Instances scope—Only Standard Reserved Instances with a capacity reservation can be sold in the Reserved Instance Marketplace. Reserved Instances with a regional benefit cannot be sold.
Seller requirement—To become a seller in the Reserved Instance Marketplace, you must register as a seller. For information, see Listing Your Reserved Instances.
Bank requirement—AWS must have your bank information in order to disburse funds collected when you sell your reservations. The bank you specify must have a US address. For more information, see Bank Accounts.
Tax requirement—Sellers who have 50 or more transactions or who plan to sell $20,000 or more in Standard Reserved Instances will have to provide additional information about their business for tax reasons. For information, see Tax Information.
Minimum selling price—The minimum price allowed in the Reserved Instance Marketplace is $0.00.
When Standard Reserved Instances can be sold—Standard Reserved Instances can be sold only after AWS has received the upfront payment and the reservation has been active (you've owned it) for at least 30 days. In addition, there must be at least one month remaining in the term of the Standard Reserved Instance you are listing.
Modifying your listing—It is not possible to modify your listing in the Reserved Instance Marketplace directly. However, you can change your listing by first cancelling it and then creating another listing with new parameters. For information, see Pricing Your Reserved Instances. You can also modify your Reserved Instances before listing them. For information, see Modifying Your Standard Reserved Instances.
Selling discounted Standard Reserved Instances—Amazon EC2 Standard Reserved Instances purchased at a reduced cost resulting from a tiering discount cannot be sold in the Reserved Instance Marketplace. For more information, see Reserved Instance Marketplace.
Service fee—AWS charges a service fee of 12 percent of the total upfront price of each Standard Reserved Instance you sell in the Reserved Instance Marketplace. (The upfront price is the price the seller is charging for the Standard Reserved Instance.)
Other AWS Reserved Instances—Only Amazon EC2 Standard Reserved Instances can be sold in the Reserved Instance Marketplace. Other AWS Reserved Instances, such as Amazon RDS and Amazon ElastiCache Reserved Instances cannot be sold in the Reserved Instance Marketplace.
Using Reserved Instances in a VPC
You can launch instances into an VPC and benefit from your Standard and Convertible Reserved Instances. For more information see What is Amazon VPC? in the Amazon VPC User Guide.
If you have an EC2-Classic account, you can purchase Reserved Instances to apply to instances launched into a nondefault VPC by selecting a platform that includes Amazon VPC in its name. For more information, see Detecting Your Supported Platforms and Whether You Have a Default VPC.
If you have an EC2-VPC-only account, the listed platforms available do not include Amazon VPC in its name because all platforms have default subnets. When you launch an instance with the same configuration as the capacity you reserved, and that instance is launched into your default or nondefault VPC, the capacity reservation and billing benefits are automatically applied to your instance. For more information, see Your Default VPC and Subnets in the Amazon VPC User Guide.
You can also choose to purchase Reserved Instances that are physically isolated at the host hardware level by specifying dedicated as the instance tenancy. For more information, see Dedicated Instances.
Reserved Instance Marketplace
The Reserved Instance Marketplace is a platform that supports the sale of third-party and AWS customers' unused Standard Reserved Instances, which vary in term lengths and pricing options. For example, an AWS customer may want to sell capacity after moving instances to a new AWS region, changing to a new instance type, or ending projects before the term expiration.
The Reserved Instance Marketplace provides increased selection and flexibility by allowing you to address your specific business and searching for Reserved Instances that most closely match your preferred combination of instance type, region, and duration. Amazon EC2 instances purchased on the Reserved Instance Marketplace offer the same capacity reservations as Standard Reserved Instances purchased directly from AWS.
Only Amazon EC2 Standard Reserved Instances can be sold in the Reserved Instance Marketplace. Other types, such as Amazon RDS and Amazon ElastiCache Reserved Instances, cannot be sold on the Reserved Instance Marketplace.