Amazon’s new cloud feature helps businesses avoid server crashes

It’s an annoying, relatable story: You try accessing a website for something urgent like concert tickets or Black Friday deals, only to find yourself waiting for pages that load slowly, if at all.

Companies hate this as much as you do. Hiccups and delays caused by an influx of traffic can cost businesses a lot in lost revenue.

Amazon is launching a new feature for its cloud business that allows companies to quickly add capacity to their apps and websites — and drop it just as fast. How fast? Amazon will charge by the second.

Aurora Serverless will help businesses and platforms deal with sudden, unexpected traffic demands that might follow, say, a new app appearing in the App Store or a big story breaking on a news site.

The feature will automatically start, adjust and stop a company’s access to additional space when it notices an increase or decline in traffic. Retailers are a prime target for this feature because they don’t always need tons of storage, but occasionally find the added capacity useful.

Getting billed by the second can add up. But it could also help save dollars on slower days by preventing companies from buying more storage than they need — or not buying enough.

The concept could also benefit new websites or apps that can’t predict when traffic might spike.

Aurora Serverless rolls out to companies in northern Virginia, Ohio and Oregon to start, along with international businesses based in Ireland and Tokyo. Amazon plans to make it available to other regions in 2019.