Inc.’s (AMZNcloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services (AWS), is set to start charging users of its virtual servers and storage by the second.

The move to a more flexible billing model forms part of its parent company’s long-term strategy to cut prices in order to squeeze competitors. Charging by the second means that customers will only be required to pay for the computing resources they need, providing Amazon, already a market leader in the cloud space, with a significant advantage over peers.

At present, the Seattle, Washington-based company’s two biggest competitors in the cloud space, Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Azure, charge by the minute. Before its latest changes, Amazon offered more expensive per-hour metering. (See also: Microsoft Could Surpass Amazon in Cloud Computing This Year.)

In a blog post, penned by AWS’ chief evangelist Jeff Barr, Amazon confirmed that its new billing model will be available from October 2 and applied to on-demand, reserved and spot instances, together with provisioned storage for Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes. The company’s Elastic MapReduce, a service offering managed big data frameworks on scalable EC2 clusters, and AWS Batch, which covers large processing jobs, also both qualify for per-second billing.

"Today, services like AWS Lambda prove that we can do a lot of useful work in a short time. Many of our customers are dreaming up applications for EC2 that can make good use of a large number of instances for shorter amounts of time, sometimes just a few minutes," Barr wrote in the blog.

“One of the many advantages of cloud computing is the elastic nature of provisioning or deprovisioning resources as you need them,” Barr added. “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.”

The new billing model is only available for Linux virtual machines and comes with a one-minute minimum charge. The post also confirmed that AWS prices will continue to be listed by the hour, but that customer bills will show precise durations of usage. (See also: Why Amazon's Shares Could Rise 12% to $1,100.)

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