Google launches virtual machines for the budget-minded

Google 'preemptible' VMs cost 70 percent less than standard virtual machines, but may be discontinued at any time

Everyone loves a bargain, even in the IT industry.

Following a beta period launched in May, Google has made its low-cost "preemptible" virtual machines available as a full commercial offering.

The Google Compute Engine Preemptible Virtual Machines can cost 70 per cent less than regular VMs on the Google Cloud Platform, with the stipulation that Google can shut down these machines at any time.

Google offers these VMs using the leftover capacity within their data centers. A VM can act as a virtual server, one that contains an operating system, application and support libraries.

Despite their tenuous nature, the preemptible VMs can be useful for a number of different workloads, especially batch processing jobs that aren't time sensitive and distributed jobs that don't rely on a single VM to complete operations.

One company already taking advantage of this service is high-performance computing services provider Cycle Computing, which used the preemptible VMs to set up a system on behalf of one of its clients, Broad Institute.

The cancer research center deployed a workload across more than 51,200 preemptible VMs to study mutations in more than 1.4 million cancer cells, to learn through machine learning how they may be similar to other cancer-driven mutation of cells.

By spreading out the workload across so many VMs, Broad Institute was able to complete the job in six hours, as opposed to the six weeks the job would have required otherwise, according to Cycle Computing.

The Google service has also been used for financial modeling, media transcoding, manufacturing design, big data analysis, and Web crawling, according to Google.

The budget service is similar to Amazon Web Service's Spot Instances, also designed for jobs that can be interrupted. AWS' model is different because its price can fluctuate according to demand, whereas Google's prices are fixed.

Google did not indicate how often the preemptible VMs have been abruptly terminated, though in a blog post announcing the full release, Paul Nash, who is the Google senior product manager for the Google Compute Engine, hinted that they are less likely to be killed on nights and weekends.

When a preemptible VM is about to be shut down, Google sends a 30-second warning to the VM to get its affairs in order for its imminent demise. The VM cannot be enabled to restart automatically, nor does Google offer any guarantee that preemptible VMs will always be available.

Preemptible VMs start at US$0.015 per hour. The VMs are also part of a 30-day free trial Google offers for its cloud services.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?