alearg's picture


On January I made a Windows-small server subscription in Amazon and I also purchased a (Windows small) reserved instance.

Six months later I got from Turnkey a lamp server (small, same region as the Windows server) and I switched off the Windows server.

Is it possible for the reserved instance price reduction to be applied to my current Turnkey server?

Thanks in advance

Jeremy Davis's picture

AFAIK the reserve instance pricing is all direct from Amazon so you'll need to talk to them about that.

Be great if you can post back with the info as others may be in a similar situation.

alearg's picture

I' ve already contacted Amazon, as you suggested, and I am waiting for their reply. I'll let you know what happens.

alearg's picture

Their answer was:

Unfortunately you are correct and reserved instance rates cannot be applied to purchased Amazon Machine Images. Additionally, Reserved Instance fees are non-refundable.

I am very sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

And here is what I replied back to them:

Thank you for your prompt and clear reply.

Your business partner, Turnkey Linux, claims that they do allow reserved instances -- here is what they have to say:

When I contacted Turnkey Linux on the same issue, they said that I should talk with Amazon because reserved instance pricing is something that is implemented at your end.

Given all available facts it looks as if Amazon will honor reserved instance pricing if it is purchased through Turnkey Linux, but it has difficulty to do so when the reserved instance is pre-existing.

Is my understanding correct?

Is there really nothing that can be done about it either from your end or Turnkey Linux's? I hope I don't need to underline the uncomfortable situation I find myself in.

Thank you very much for your attention on this matter.

I will keep updating both sides on any developments, as I assume that if it was practical for you to talk to Amazon you would have already done so.




Jeremy Davis's picture

I think your request is a fair one. You're not asking for a refund, but a transfer - from a Windows reserved instance to a Linux one. I can understand that they won't refund it, but I think asking  for a transfer to a Linux instance is not unreasonable (they still come out in front).

But for the record, I don't speak on behalf of TKL. I am very active here and after a few years experience with TKL, I know a thing or two about it. I work closely with the TKL core dev guys but I'm merely an active community member not a official TKL spokesman. So please don't take anything I say as gospel. For the final say on TKL matters (especially when it comes to Amazon and billing) you need to speak with Alon or Liraz.

alearg's picture


Could you bring this to Alon or Liraz's attention please?

You are absolutely right that I'm not asking for any kind of refund, I'm very happy with the service I get from both sides (Amazon and TKL). I see the present difficulty as merely a contractual detail that has managed to pass overlooked until now.

What makes this case challenging is:

  • the reserved instance was pre-existing, not purchased through TKL
  • the pre-existing reserved instance was Windows, not Linux

In the best of worlds none of these facts should be a show stopper.

Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide.

Alon Swartz's picture

Amazon don't provide refunds for reserved instances (according to their documention). I don't know if its possible for them to transfer reserved instances either, but you can try (as you have).

Just to be clear, there is no difference when purchasing a reserved instance via the Hub or directly via Amazon. The Hub performs the purchase on your behalf via the Amazon EC2 API. The only difference is the Hub makes is simpler and less error prone so you get the reservation that is compatible with the TurnKey images.

One last note, I think what the Amazon rep was referring to when he said "purchased amazon machine images" is TurnKey's S3-backed images. In which case he was correct. Reserved instances are only supported on TurnKey's EBS-backed images.

Liraz Siri's picture

Everything that anyone says on the forums eventually comes to our attention though we can't always respond quickly. You don't have to make any special requests.

Regarding your question:

  1. To the best of my knowledge Amazon reserved instances are definitely not transferable between instance types, regions or availability zones. But I don't know about transferring a reserved instance between operating systems. That might be possible though I doubt it.

    Even if it makes logical sense (e.g., they come out ahead) that doesn't mean their system supports it.

  2. Reserved instances are a feature of Amazon's billing system, not TurnKey's. We only support the feature to save our users money. Amazon doesn't give us commissions on reserved instances or anything like that.

    Theoretically it's possible to reserve an instance without using the Hub and have it apply, but reserved instances are specific to an availability zone which is a specific physical datacenter in a specific region. If you don't reserve through the Hub there's a good chance you'll reserve an instance in the wrong availability zone and TurnKey won't be able to use it.

    Sounds a bit confusing? That's because it is. Some resources are region specific, some resources are zone-specific, and if you need to access a zone-specific resource in one zone from another you're in for a world of pain.

    Hub users that have never ventured into the Amazon CLI or web console have probably never even heard of an "availability zone". Thats because it is a frustrating anachronism of Amazon's cloud infrastructure which we designed the Hub to magically hide from our users.

Liraz Siri's picture

Unfortunately, as much as we'd like to help, this sort of thing is between you and Amazon. There's nobody special we can turn to and ask nicely to please transfer your reserved instance.

alearg's picture

I forgot to mention that I took care all instances to be in the same region & availability zone. Further, all instances are of the same size. So, the only difference is the platform (Windows vs Linux).

I'll post any new answer from Amazon in case anybody else is interested.

Thanks for your immediate response.

alearg's picture

Here is what I got this morning:

I'm sorry for any misunderstanding regarding Reserved Instances, but the previous representative was correct.

Currently Reserved Instance cannot be used with the following:

-- DevPay products (such as Wowza)
-- Instances launched from paid AMIs

For DevPay products and paid AMIs, you always pay the price that the seller of the paid AMI or DevPay product specified.

Furthermore I have forwarded the Turnkey link that you provided for review.

I am sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

I still believe that, essentially, this is a simple matter to solve, even if it seems to imply a small change in the way Amazon's billing software currently works. However it looks as if it's not going to happen, so I'll leave it at that.

Thank you for your time and willingness to help.

Jeremy Davis's picture

If you were lead to Reserved instances by TKL, then why didn't you just set it up through the Hub? I would've thought that if you are already using the Hub then you would've already realised that no AWS launched instances can be handled by the Hub and/or that it would make more sense to create your Reserved Instances in the Hub. Personally I would assume that existing reserved instances would not be able to be transferred in... It works fine if you purchase your Reserved intance through the Hub. As such it is not misleading at all I don't think, although maybe it should be something like "supports the creation of Reserved Instances - save up to 65%" so it was more obvious that it requires you to create new reserved instances through the Hub.

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