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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

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

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?