Cloud software vendors and service providers often talk about about consumption pricing as charging “by the drink” but in light of this news from Google Cloud Platform, and this news from Amazon Web Services, they might just have to start saying, “by the drop.” As of today, GCP will start charging by the second for usage of Compute Engine, Container Engine, Cloud Dataproc, and App Engine VMs, and starting Monday, AWS will be charging by the second for EC2 Instances and EBS Volumes. Both platforms will apply a one minute minimum.

We’re happy to say that Orbitera Cloud Billing and Cost Management customers will be able to track and process those by-the-second cloud bills on eligible AWS and GCP instances, right now for GCP and on Monday for AWS. What’s the bottom-line impact? Paul Nash, Group Product Manager, Compute Engine, writes on the GCP Blog,

In most cases, the difference between per-minute and per-second billing is very small — we estimate it as a fraction of a percent. On the other hand, changing from per-hour billing to per-minute billing makes a big difference for applications (especially websites, mobile apps and data processing jobs) that get traffic spikes. The ability to scale up and down quickly could come at a significant cost if you had to pay for those machines for the full hour when you only needed them for a few minutes.

On the AWS Blog, Jeff Barr has this take on the opportunity of per-second cloud pricing:

I believe that this change will inspire you to innovate and to think about your compute-bound problems in new ways. How can you use it to improve your support for continuous integration? Can it change the way that you provision transient environments for your dev and test workloads? What about your analytics, batch processing, and 3D rendering?

At Orbitera, we’re all about streamlining cloud commerce so this sounds like an idea whose time has come. Any development that makes cloud commerce more accessible and spurs innovation to boot is a good development in our book.