Amazon Web Services has announced that it will begin offering per-second billing in all AWS regions, effective October 2.

The new billing structure will be offered for Linux usage, when applications are launched in On-Demand, Reserved and Spot form, and for provisioned storage for EBS volumes. Per-second billing will also apply to EMR clusters, in which nodes are added to speed processing, so that results are returned more quickly. AWS Batch jobs will also be billed by the second. The idea is that, because EMR and Batch jobs often run for less than an hour, per-second pricing will make choices more cost-effective.

List and Spot Market prices are billed per hour, but calculated to the second and shown on the bill as a decimal representing per-second fractions of an hour. Dedicated Per Region Fees, EBS Snapshots, and AWS Marketplace products will continue to be billed on an hourly basis.

Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, noted that the pay-per-use structure is integral to the concept of cloud computing. ‘One of the many advantages of cloud computing is the elastic nature of provisioning or deprovisioning resources as you need them,’ he said. ‘By billing usage down to the second we will enable customers to level up their elasticity, save money, and customers will be positioned to take advantage of continuing advances in computing.’

In addition to making the pricing structure more attractive for many customers, the company noted in the announcement that the actual price reduction is less important than the hope that a lower cost will inspire users to innovate, and to find creative solutions to existing problems, applying cloud services to new areas of technology and services.

AWS has offered per-hour billing since launching services in 2006. However, Google and Microsoft began offering per-minute billing a few years ago. These services are all attractive to customers, as the pay-per-use model helps clients to control costs and cut back on waste. With the move to per-second billing, Amazon is breaking down the concept of usage billing even further, so that customers can control charges and reduce excess payments.