Pinterest uses automatic shutdown of its servers to cut costs. It has cut down costs from $54/hour to $20/hour by using this technique.

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Do you know how much Pinterest used to spend to keep its web infrastructure running? It was $54 per hour. Thanks to a new architecture, this cost is now reduced to $20 per hour, by automatic shut down of servers when traffic load is low.


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Pinterest needs a huge stack of servers to keep its users connected. The social network currently uses a Cost-Aware Architecture. The novelty of this cloud system is that it has a feature called “Auto Shut Down System” that can shut down servers when traffic load is lower than average.

By using this optimized infrastructure,  Pinterest has cut its infrastructure cost from $54 per hour to $20 per hour.  Ryan Park, Pinterest’s technical operations lead, explained the case as follows.

  • 20% of their systems are shutdown after hours in response to traffic loads
  • Reserved instances are used for standard traffic
  • On-demand and spot instances are used to handle the elastic load throughout the day. When more servers are needed for an auto-scaled service,  spot requests are opened and on-demand instances are started at the same time. Most services are targeted to run at about 50% on-demand and 50% spot.
  • Watchdog processes continually check what’s running. More instances are launched when needed and terminated when not needed. If spot prices spike and spot instances are shut down, on-demand replacement instances are launched. Spot instances will be relaunched when the price goes back down. Spot capacity issues are rare and rarely are apparent to users.
  • Using this approach costs have gone from $54 per hour to $20 per hour
  • Only 2 weeks of engineering were required to build the system and with very little maintenance needed, it saves a lot of money.

If you want to know more, you will get it at Cloud Programming Directly Feeds Cost Allocation Back Into Software Design.

Source: High Scalability

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