Google Introduces Preemptible VMs and Another Round of Cloud Price Cuts For Compute
Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior VP of technical infrastructure at Google, at 2014 Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

Google Introduces Preemptible VMs and Another Round of Cloud Price Cuts For Compute

With Preemptive VMs, Google gains a way to sell capacity on its cloud that would otherwise go unused at a steep discount to the customer. The company also lowered pricing for compute, with an average VM on Google's cloud now about half the cost as when it was introduced in 2013.

Google cut cloud pricing across all Google Compute Engine instance types by up to 30 percent and introduced a new class of preemptible virtual machines (VMs) that provide short-term capacity for a low, fixed cost.

Google committed to following Moore’s Law with cloud pricing last year - you can set your watch to cloud price cuts. Google Compute Engine pricing is now roughly half of what it was when Compute Engine first launched in 2013.

The preemptible VMs are a way for Google to sell capacity on its cloud that would otherwise go idle, at a reduced cost to the customer. Meant for flexible workloads and short duration batch jobs, they are identical to regular VMs, except when it comes to availability and price. They are 70 percent cheaper than regular instances, with the caveat that availability is subject to system supply and demand.

The preemptible VMs are similar to Amazon Web Services' EC2 Spot Instances, in that their suited for interruption tolerant tasks. Unlike AWS' Spot instances, the price is fixed instead of driven by the market. Both approaches have their advantages, with Preemptible VMs more suited for those seeking fixed costs. Spot instances have been around for several years, and occasionally have been subject to big price variations.

The Preemptible VMs continue Google’s addition of functionality found in other clouds, but with it’s own spin: this time it's fixed costs.Google recently introduced a low-cost cold storage service called Cloud Storage Nearline, which put a spin on cold storage. Nearline makes data accessible in a matter of seconds rather than the standard hour or so for other cold storage offerings.

The price cuts to Compute Engine were:

  • Standard configuration 20 percent reduction
  • High Memory 15 percent reduction
  • High CPU 5 percent reduction
  • Small 15 percent reduction
  • Micro 30 percent reduction

Europe and Asia also received similar cuts.

Google claims its Cloud Platform costs 40 percent less for many workloads compared to other public clouds when it comes to price/performance.

“Our continued price/performance leadership goes well beyond list prices,” wrote Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure. “Our combination of sustained use discounting, no prepaid lock-in and per-minute billing offers users a structural price advantage which becomes apparent when we consider real-world applications

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