Best practices for EC2 Spot - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
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Best practices for EC2 Spot

Amazon EC2 Spot Instances are spare EC2 compute capacity in the Amazon Web Services Cloud that are available to you at savings of up to 90% off compared to On-Demand prices. The only difference between On-Demand Instances and Spot Instances is that Spot Instances can be interrupted by Amazon EC2, with two minutes of notification, when Amazon EC2 needs the capacity back.

Spot Instances are recommended for stateless, fault-tolerant, flexible applications. For example, Spot Instances work well for big data, containerized workloads, CI/CD, stateless web servers, high performance computing (HPC), and rendering workloads.

While running, Spot Instances are exactly the same as On-Demand Instances. However, Spot does not guarantee that you can keep your running instances long enough to finish your workloads. Spot also does not guarantee that you can get immediate availability of the instances that you are looking for, or that you can always get the aggregate capacity that you requested. Moreover, Spot Instance interruptions and capacity can change over time because Spot Instance availability varies based on supply and demand, and past performance isn’t a guarantee of future results.

Spot Instances are not suitable for workloads that are inflexible, stateful, fault-intolerant, or tightly coupled between instance nodes. We do not recommend Spot Instances for workloads that are intolerant of occasional periods when the entire target capacity is not completely available. While following Spot best practices to be flexible about instance types and Availability Zones provides the best chance for high availability, there are no guarantees that capacity will be available, because surges in demand for On-Demand Instances can disrupt workloads on Spot Instances.

We strongly discourage using Spot Instances for these workloads or attempting to fail over to On-Demand Instances to handle interruptions or periods of unavailability. Failing over to On-Demand Instances can inadvertently drive interruptions for your other Spot Instances. In addition if Spot Instances for a combination of instance type and Availability Zone get interrupted, it might become difficult for you to get On-Demand Instances with that same combination.

Regardless of whether you're an experienced Spot user or new to Spot Instances, if you are currently experiencing issues with Spot Instance interruptions or availability, we recommend that you follow these best practices to have the best experience using the Spot service.

Prepare individual instances for interruptions

The best way for you to gracefully handle Spot Instance interruptions is to architect your application to be fault-tolerant. To accomplish this, you can take advantage of EC2 instance rebalance recommendations and Spot Instance interruption notices.

An EC2 Instance rebalance recommendation is a signal that notifies you when a Spot Instance is at an elevated risk of interruption. The signal gives you the opportunity to proactively manage the Spot Instance in advance of the two-minute Spot Instance interruption notice. You can decide to rebalance your workload to new or existing Spot Instances that are not at an elevated risk of interruption. We've made it easy for you to use this signal by using the Capacity Rebalancing feature in Auto Scaling groups and EC2 Fleet.

A Spot Instance interruption notice is a warning that is issued two minutes before Amazon EC2 interrupts a Spot Instance. If your workload is "time-flexible," you can configure your Spot Instances to be stopped or hibernated, instead of being terminated, when they are interrupted. Amazon EC2 automatically stops or hibernates your Spot Instances on interruption, and automatically resumes the instances when we have available capacity.

We recommend that you create a rule in Amazon EventBridge that captures the rebalance recommendations and interruption notifications, and then triggers a checkpoint for the progress of your workload or gracefully handles the interruption. For more information, see Monitor rebalance recommendation signals. For a detailed example that walks you through how to create and use event rules, see Taking Advantage of Amazon EC2 Spot Instance Interruption Notices.

For more information, see EC2 instance rebalance recommendations and Spot Instance interruptions.

Be flexible about instance types and Availability Zones

A Spot capacity pool is a set of unused EC2 instances with the same instance type (for example, m5.large) and Availability Zone (for example, us-east-1a). You should be flexible about which instance types you request and in which Availability Zones you can deploy your workload. This gives Spot a better chance to find and allocate your required amount of compute capacity. For example, don't just ask for c5.large if you'd be willing to use larges from the c4, m5, and m4 families.

Depending on your specific needs, you can evaluate which instance types you can be flexible across to fulfill your compute requirements. If a workload can be vertically scaled, you should include larger instance types (more vCPUs and memory) in your requests. If you can only scale horizontally, you should include older generation instance types because they are less in demand from On-Demand customers.

A good rule of thumb is to be flexible across at least 10 instance types for each workload. In addition, make sure that all Availability Zones are configured for use in your VPC and selected for your workload.

Use EC2 Auto Scaling groups or EC2 Fleet to manage your aggregate capacity

Spot enables you to think in terms of aggregate capacity—in units that include vCPUs, memory, storage, or network throughput—rather than thinking in terms of individual instances. Auto Scaling groups and EC2 Fleet enable you to launch and maintain a target capacity, and to automatically request resources to replace any that are disrupted or manually terminated. When you configure an Auto Scaling group or an EC2 Fleet, you need only specify the instance types and target capacity based on your application needs. For more information, see Auto Scaling groups in the Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling User Guide and Create an EC2 Fleet in this user guide.

Use the price and capacity optimized allocation strategy

Allocation strategies in Auto Scaling groups help you to provision your target capacity without the need to manually look for the Spot capacity pools with spare capacity. We recommend using the price-capacity-optimized strategy because this strategy automatically provisions instances from the most-available Spot capacity pools that also have the lowest possible price. You can also take advantage of the price-capacity-optimized allocation strategy in EC2 Fleet. Because your Spot Instance capacity is sourced from pools with optimal capacity, this decreases the possibility that your Spot Instances are reclaimed. For more information about allocation strategies, see Spot Instances in the Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling User Guide and When workloads have a high cost of interruption in this user guide.

Use integrated Amazon services to manage your Spot Instances

Other Amazon services integrate with Spot to reduce overall compute costs without the need to manage the individual instances or fleets. We recommend that you consider the following solutions for your applicable workloads: Amazon EMR, Amazon Elastic Container Service, Amazon Batch, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, and Amazon GameLift. To learn more about Spot best practices with these services, see the Amazon EC2 Spot Instances Workshops Website.

Which is the best Spot request method to use?

Use the following table to determine which API to use when requesting Spot Instances.

API When to use? Use case Should I use this API?


  • You need multiple instances with either a single configuration or a mixed configuration.

  • You want to automate the lifecycle management through a configurable API.

Create an Auto Scaling group that manages the lifecycle of your instances while maintaining the desired number of instances. Supports horizontal scaling (adding more instances) between specified minimum and maximum limits.

  • You need multiple instances with either a single configuration or a mixed configuration.

  • You want to self-manage your instance lifecycle.

  • If you don’t need auto scaling, we recommend that you use an instant type fleet.

Create a fleet of both On-Demand Instances and Spot Instances in a single request, with multiple launch specifications that vary by instance type, AMI, Availability Zone, or subnet. The Spot Instance allocation strategy defaults to lowest-price per unit, but you can change it to price-capacity-optimized, capacity-optimized, or diversified.

Yes – in instant mode if you don’t need auto scaling

  • You're already using the RunInstances API to launch On-Demand Instances, and you simply want to change to launching Spot Instances by changing a single parameter.

  • You do not need multiple instances with different instance types.

Launch a specified number of instances using an AMI and one instance type.

No – because RunInstances does not allow mixed instance types in a single request

  • We strongly discourage using the RequestSpotFleet API because it is a legacy API with no planned investment.

  • If you want to manage your instance lifecycle, use the CreateFleet API.

  • If you don't want to manage your instance lifecycle, use the CreateAutoScalingGroup API.

DO NOT USE. RequestSpotFleet is legacy API with no planned investment.

  • We strongly discourage using the RequestSpotInstances API because it is a legacy API with no planned investment.

DO NOT USE. RequestSpotInstances is legacy API with no planned investment.