Abstract

In Amazon EC2, cloud resources are sold through a combination of an on-demand market, in which customers buy resources at a fixed price, and a spot market, in which customers bid for an uncertain supply of excess resources.  Standard market environments suggest that an optimal design uses just one type of market.  We show the prevalence of a dual market system can be explained by heterogeneous risk attitudes of customers.  In our stylized model, we consider unit demand risk-averse bidders.  We show the model admits a unique equilibrium, with higher revenue and higher welfare than using only spot markets. Furthermore, as risk aversion increases, the usage of the on-demand market increases.  We conclude that risk attitudes are an important factor in cloud resource allocation and should be incorporated into models of cloud markets.