Reserved Virtual Server Instances

IBM Cloud has just this week launched a brand new infrastructure service – Reserved Virtual Server instances – and if you run (or plan to run) VSIs over a period of 1 or 3 years, these could actually save you a ton of money over the term.

What Are They?

Reserved Virtual Server Instances are simply VSIs that are provisioned against a Reserved Capacity. So, at the start of the term, you first of all define your reserved capacity. To do this, you choose a data centre, the length of the term (1 or 3 years), the size of the instances that you will create in that reserved capacity and how many instances you will create, up to a maximum of 20 instances per Reserved Capacity block. So, the Reserved Capacity will equal the size of the instances multiplied by the number of instances that you will create.

This reserved capacity is then available for you to create your VSI into. When you create your VSIs, you have to decide whether those are to be billed hourly or monthly – however, this only applies to the cost of additional software, storage and networking.

How are they Billed?

VSIs are billed monthly, based on the size of the reserved capacity and this is a ‘constant’ charge throughout the term. Other charges are made on top for any additional software, storage or networking that you have provisioned for the VSI created within the Reserved Capacity. These are charged either on a hourly or monthly basis, depending on your choice when creating the VSI.

How will this save me money?

Because you are committing for a longer time period, IBM has discounted the cost of Reserved VSIs. Looking at the catalogue, the current ‘from’ cost of a standard VSI starts at $25.21 monthly / $0.038 hourly, compared to just $13.27 monthly / $0.02 hourly for a Reserved VSI. That’s a difference of just over $143 on the monthly cost over 1 year and nearly $158 on the hourly cost over a year (or just shy of $430 over a 3 year term). And that’s just for one, basic VSI.  Customers who take an IBM Cloud subscription may pay even less.

Who should look at this?

There are many workloads which are ‘permanent’ in the sense that they are running and available for a long period of time, particularly those which are enterprise critical, or are part of a services agreement, which often run for up to three years. Reserved instances could well offer significant cost savings for such workloads.

If you are running workloads that fall short of one year, then it’s probably not for you, although looking at the costings above, if you are running a workload for a shorter period, perhaps there are marginal cost savings to be made.

What are the Restrictions?

There are a few restrictions to the offering today, though these may change as it matures over the coming months. I’ll blog as I hear of them. The main ones to consider are that today, only SAN-backed Balanced, Memory, and Compute Family Sizes may be reserved and at this stage, the reserved capacity must be made up of like-sized VSI’s (i.e. you cannot upgrade or downgrade the capacity of a VSI). Currently, there is also a strict no cancellation policy, so if you sign up for reserved capacity but find that you no longer need it part way through the term, you will need to continue.

Where can I find out more?

As usual, the IBM Cloud documentation is a great place to start and you can look at the offering in the IBM Cloud Catalog. If you’re a customer with IBM Cloud contacts, go ahead and ask them too and if you have any questions, feel free to post them below.

Cheers,

James

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