The next wave in the cloud pricing wars begins today. With Google pushing the per minute billing for their Compute Engine solution, it was only a matter of time until Amazon's Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure matched or got down to per second.
I think, initially, most customers won't really take full advantage of what this new billing means. Over time, this is going to be a game changing option for some solutions. What per second really opens is the ability to create very dynamic and elastic solutions using traditional virtual machines to power the solution. Imagine a retailer spinning up thousands of virtual machines to handle individual spikes in usage during the day or particular weekends and then spinning those down just as quickly as demand subsides. But, instead of paying for an hour of compute time when the server is only running for a few minutes or even a few seconds, we can now pay for exactly what we use. This is a great way to bridge the move into serverless compute options (Amazon Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Functions, etc.).
So what's next? I suspect Microsoft and Google won't wait too long to match Amazon while also showing how the serverless tools provide a foundation for the next wave. That next wave is an increased transition to serverless models, new options for machine learning and artificial intellgence, and next generation applications. Either way, this is an exciting time to be in the cloud business!
Effective October 2nd, usage of Linux instances that are launched in On-Demand, Reserved, and Spot form will be billed in one-second increments. Similarly, provisioned storage for EBS volumes will be billed in one-second increments.