Getting started listing an EC2 reserved instance (RI) on the Amazon marketplace (errors and meanings)

I recently finished using an AWS EC2 reserved instance (t2.nano) ahead of schedule by 3 months but had already paid Amazon for a year. I planned to chalk this up to a sunk cost but discovered the Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance Marketplace. It looked like a very promising option to recover at least some of the reserved instance (RI) cost that I paid up front last April.

Quick Tips

  • Be patient - while working through the steps to sell a reserved instance on the marketplace, I had to wait several hours (possibly overnight) between each step. It appears that some processes must occur on the Amazon side after each step. I waited 12 hours (overnight), but it may require less time.

Completing the Reserved Instance Marketplace seller registration process

The steps are straightforward and outlined here. Upon receiving the confirmation message from Amazon (example below), I jumped right in with the intent of listing my instance (RI).

Screenshot of example EC2 Reserved Instance Marketplace seller confirmation email message

Instead, I was prompted to repeat the seller registration process (loop) when selecting either “Sell Reserved Instances” or “My Listings”. I was also redirected to the US East (N. Virginia) region in the AWS Console.

Screenshot of selling options resulting in loop or repeat of registration

SOLUTION: This issue cleared itself up overnight - it was just a matter of waiting.

The cryptic “Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance” message

Luke Rehmann saved my bacon here. The information he shares in his blog posting about the “Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance” message was spot on and invaluable.

Screenshot of message Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance

In my case, it was this:

  • You are trying to sell a Standard EC2 Reserved Instance with No Available Zone Scope

SOLUTION: This was an easy fix - I simply modified my Reserved Instance to have Availability Zone scope (instead of Region scope) and saved the change.

Before:

Original, Region scoped Reserved Instance settings

After:

New, Availability Zone scoped Reserved Instance settings

Once done (change took affect almost immediately), the “Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance” message no longer appeared but I was presented with a new “Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance Because You Have Not Paid For it Yet” message. Read on about that.

It is normal to see 2 “versions” of your Reserved Instance at this point. The original will be listed, along with the modified version (with appropriate start/end dates, based on the date you applied the modification).

After modification, EC2 Reserved Instances appear twice

The “Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance Because You Have Not Paid For it Yet” message

After modifying my Reserved Instance to be of Availability Zone scope instead of Region scope, I was immediated presented with a “Cannot Sell This Reserved Instance Because You Have Not Paid For it Yet” message. I could not find any documentation about this online but suspected it may have to do with the Upfront Price of $0.00 on my modified instance.

SOLUTION: I was wrong in my assumption - this is another message that is resolved with patience. When attempting to list my modified reserved instance the following day, I was able to without issue.

Conclusion

I hope this helps someone. If you are in the market for a cheap t2.nano reserved instance in Ohio (before April 2018), look for mine on the marketplace.

Once listed, your instance will appear among the options on the “Purchase Reserved Instances” screen with “3rd Party” noted in the “Seller” column. You cannot see your own instances for sale but others will see something like:

EC2 Reserved Instance Marketplace listing