Google offers cut-rate computing for low-priority jobs

The Google Preemptible Virtual Machine is a budget cloud offering for large jobs that don't need to be run in real time

Got a cloud computing job that doesn't need to be completed right away? Google says it has a deal for you.

On Monday, the company introduced a new compute service on the Google Cloud Platform that costs 70 percent less on average than an equivalent standard instance in the same configuration on the Google Compute Engine.

The catch with the Google Compute Engine Preemptible Virtual Machine? Google can shut down the job at any time.

There are a variety of computer tasks that fit nicely into this pricing model, Google Senior Product Manager Paul Nash said in a blog post.

The service, now in beta, would be good for fault-tolerant workloads that can be distributed easily across multiple virtual machines. Although jobs such as data analytics, genomics, and simulation and modeling can require lots of computational power, they can run periodically, or even if one or more nodes they're using goes offline.

Google's budget service is somewhat 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. The Compute Engine Preemptible Virtual Machine can cost as little as US$0.01 per instance per hour.

To provide the service, Google is using leftover capacity in its data centers. If demand for its services spikes, the preemptible virtual machines (VMs) get bumped. Users are given a 30 second warning, which should give the application time to save its current state and work. No preemptible VM can run for more than 24 hours straight.

Some Google Cloud customers already plan to use the technology. Satellite imagery processing startup Descartes Labs recently required 30,000 processors to churn through a petabyte of NASA imagery. The lower costs may help the company work with even larger sets of data. Financial investment firm Citadel is another big user of cloud computing that will put these instances to work.

Preemptible VMs are started up and managed in the same manner as other Google Cloud Engine VMs, and existing tools and scripts can be used with them. Users of big data-analysis Hadoop software can also specify, through a single command, a given percentage of preemptible machines to use on their running workloads.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleManaged Servicescloud computinginternetInfrastructure services

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?