Google's Tweakable Cloud VMs Now in General Availability
People stand in the lobby of Google’s Washington, DC, headquarters in January 2015. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Google's Tweakable Cloud VMs Now in General Availability

Users can change virtual CPU core count and memory size independently of each other

Even though the Amazon cloud now offers close to 80 different kinds of rentable cloud servers, while Microsoft’s cloud provides about half that amount, Google says neither of its big public cloud rivals necessarily has the perfect option for every user.

For that reason, Google announced today the launch of customizable cloud VMs, where a user can tweak CPU core count and memory size individually and independently of each other. Since the service was launched into Beta in November, Google has seen users create cloud VMs with virtual CPU-to-memory ratios not available from any major cloud providers, Sami Iqram, product manager for Google Cloud Platform, wrote in a blog post Wednesday announcing the launch of Custom Machine Types into general availability.

The point is to make public cloud cheaper for customers. Presumably, the better they can match the configuration of their cloud infrastructure to their application needs, the less they will spend on capacity they don’t need. Google started charging for its cloud VMs by the minute instead of by the hour several years ago for the same reason. Microsoft followed, while Amazon did not, continuing to charge by the hour.

Google Custom Machine Types

(Source: Google)

The three giants have essentially commoditized cloud infrastructure services, announcing big price cuts one after another over the recent years. Things like greater and greater customization options to allow users to save and various discount schemes based on usage dynamics they have devised illustrate that there’s a limit to how far simple price cuts can go. Cloud data centers are expensive to build and operate at the scale that is required from leading cloud service providers today, so it isn’t a race to zero as much as a race to get closer to zero than the competition.

Read more: The Billions in Data Center Spending behind Cloud Revenue Growth

Pricing for Custom Machine Types is simple. There’s a flat rate for each virtual CPU core and for each Gibibyte of memory you spin up.

Custom cloud VMs come with CentOS, CoreOS, Debian, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, and now also Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows. They are supported by Google Container Engine and Deployment Manager tools.

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