Customers who have Reserved Instance contracts with Amazon Web Services will be able to subdivide some of their Linux and Unix virtual machine instances while maintaining their capacity discounts, thanks to pricing changes .

Reserved Instances allow customers to lock themselves into paying AWS for a certain amount of compute capacity with the company’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) in exchange for a discount off its list price. 

Under the new scheme, a customer could pay for a c4.8xlarge , and use that payment to run one c4.4xlarge and two c4.2xlarge virtual machines in one region instead of one massive VM. That’s a change from the past, when Amazon’s standard Reserved Instances locked customers into a particular virtual machine type.

In addition, customers that under-provision their Regional RIs can maintain their reserved instance discounts as they scale up. That means customers with c4.4xlarge reservations will end up only paying half of the on-demand price on top of the reserved instance price if they scale it up to a c4.8xlarge instance.

. At that time, the company introduced Convertible Reserved Instances, which let customers take less of a discount over a three-year period in exchange for being able to switch instance types if they need to.

There are a couple major differences between the subdivision and scale-up capabilities introduced Monday and Convertible RIs. Subdivision flexibility only applies to instance size, not type. Meanwhile, Convertible RIs can be converted to other instance families if a customer chooses.  

allow customers to get a discount if they commit to paying for a certain amount of CPU cores and RAM over the course of a one- or three-year contract.

Google’s plan offers more flexibility than AWS’s, because customers aren’t restricted to a set menu of different instance shapes. However, AWS’s cloud platform is the more popular one with customers at the moment.