European customers of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) can reserve computing capacity in advance thanks to the introduction of the "reserved instances" pricing plan, according to a post on the official Amazon web services blog.
Instead of paying for computing power solely on an as-you-go basis, customers who choose the reserved instance option pay an up-front fee and get an EC2 instance reserved for their use for either one or three years. They also receive a discount on hourly usage costs.
Amazon initially launched reserved instances in the United States last month. The offering may have appeal to large enterprises that want to use EC2 for scenarios such as disaster recovery, but aren't willing to do so without dedicated back-end resources. However, the AWS customer service agreement states that Amazon "may terminate the Reserved Instance Pricing program at any time."
Reserved instance pricing in Europe is slightly higher than the US, beginning at $0.04 (£0.26 pence) per hour versus $0.03. Upfront fees are the same, starting at $325 to reserve a standard instance for one year.
Only Linux/UNIX-based reserved instances are available at this time, according to the AWS website.