back to article Capacity shortage hits AWS UK micro instances

Amazon's brand-new UK T2 micro instances reached saturation point on Friday, with users being told the AWS service had run out of local capacity. Customers were informed that T2 micro instances were running short of rack space in the EU West 2a availability zone in the morning. The AWS zone is in London and opened in December …

  1. Dwarf Silver badge

    So choose a different availability zone and carry on.

    1. dedmonst

      The only reason there's a zone in the UK in the first place is because some people have data sovereignty issues... I suspect that for many who use the UK service, another one isn't a possibility

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Someone needs to explain the difference between a region and an availability zone.

        AWS won't have run out in eu-west-2a, as the article says, for the simple reason that the "a" "b" assignment varies by account. They might have run out in some people's "a" but for other it'll be "b".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of them is at Telecity, Acton... Allegedly.

    1. theblackhand

      * cough * Equinix....

  3. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    story from the early days

    My previous manager started working with amazon shit back in maybe 2009 I think it was for a company he hired me at a year later. The company in question had very high level connections with amazon to try to resolve the many problems(which didn't help much in the end). Anyway the funny story is on several occasions even in us-east amazon would run out of capacity for large VMs (and maybe others I don't know) at the time and on at least one occasion the customer co-ordinated with amazon on site techs, literally they called and told my manager to log in to the portal with his finger on the button, the amazon people powered up the new hardware and told him when to click the button to allocate resources from the new hardware. In the two and a half years or so I was forced to use amazon cloud I don't recall that situation happening to me(running out of capacity). The customer in question at least on paper at the time peaked spending at about $500,000/month on cloud services(ROI for in house was about 7 months). Because of the executive level connections I don't know how much they actually paid, that was just the size of the bill. This from a tiny shit box startup. Company imploded several years ago.

  4. The Mole

    "Amazon was, at the time of writing, unable to say why its normally elastic compute cloud was unable to keep the newly launched UK micro instances from running dry."

    Elasticity isn't magic. If they haven't brought and new hardware quick enough (or there was an abnormally large surge) then there is no hardware and they would have run dry.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just like real elastic, stretch it too thin and it will snap.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cloud...

    Other peoples computers they are not building enough of.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if...

    OK, so this is presumably what happens when there's not enough capacity for cheapskates to make use of generous "off peak" pricing for capacity which would otherwise sit idle and earning no revenue, right? In much the same way as a timesharing bureau used to work, right, except the cloud is new an shiny an betterer an HUUUUUUUGE?

    What happens when there's a bigger, more serious, capacity shortage for some (global?) reason, and the cheapest cheapskates have already been booted off (not just prevented from starting new stuff)?

    That is the way "the cloud" is priced when you look at the small print, right? Everything's fine (==="cheap") till something unusual happens, and then life gets interesting.

    Is there a separate (published or unpublished) price for truly "firm" cloud capacity, just as there is for many other things in life?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if...

      basically a business that runs on 1$ plane ticket offers.. what could go wrong.

      The Cloud business is looking quite similar to the airline industry...

    2. Dan 10

      Re: What if...

      Sure there is; reserved instances. The cheapskate spot-priced instances are for when you aren't bothered about the 'right now' aspect. One of their case studies is a pharma biz that uses spot pricing to run big bio simulation algorithms or some such. Comes online at quiet o'clock, stateless in case of being booted off halfway-through, reckons they save oodles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What if...

        firm capacity => "reserved instances"

        Are you sure about that? I am not a lawyer nor an expert on AWS Ts+Cs but for the uninitiated, I don't see anything at

        http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/concepts-on-demand-reserved-instances.html

        that equates to "firm capacity", ie capacity that is (to all intents and purposes) guaranteed to be there, fixed time, fixed price..

        As another contributor nearly noted - does "reserved" in this context have the same meaning as it does with an airline booking - ie if capacity is overbooked, you're not guaranteed to get what you paid for when you expected it?

        Clarification very welcome, thanks.

        1. Dan 10

          Re: What if...

          That's my understanding. When you reserve, you pre-pay. So 12 or 36 months at an agreed price, for capacity that *must* be available to you.

  8. kmac499

    Same business model as the pallet rental, banking, mobile phone coverage business. Promise lots and lots of people 1% of what you've got; knowing full well they won't all want it at the same time.. (As doumened by Mel Brooks in 'The Producers' ) Ooops

    The electricty supply industry solves this problem with mamximum demand meters and variable tarriffs depending on time of day and demand, maybe that's the future.

  9. Jon 37

    Not elastic enough?

    Is there a reason Amazon can't just automatically subdivide some of their bigger instances into several smaller ones?

    TBH, I'd always assumed Amazon worked that way, and would fill their machines with whatever instance sizes people wanted to run. Is there a reason for not doing it that way?

    The instances do seem designed to be subdivided - a t2.nano has exactly half the resources of a t2.micro, which has exactly half the resources of a t2.small, which has exactly half the resources of a t2.medium.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Not elastic enough?

      I think they were doing just that, but probably manually.

      "We are working to increase t2.micro instance capacity and expect to be back to normal levels within the next few hours."

      If they can increase capacity within a few hours, they aren't doing that by ordering new hardware.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not for prod

    Never ever run t2 instances on production environment.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Not for prod

      Why not, pray tell?

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