December 10, 2015
Google proved on November 18th that it took cloud computing seriously. The company made an announcement that developers will be able to create compute instances with custom configurations of virtual CPUs and memory on the company's cloud platform. This move is seen as a way to woo developers to indulge more in Google Cloud.
The new feature is called Custom Machine Types, and it allows users to essentially build their own compute instance to fit an application's needs. Instances can have between 1 and 32 vCPUs, incremented by even numbers of processors. To that, developers can add up to 6.5GiB of memory per vCPU in an instance (1GiB, or gibabyte, is equivalent to approximately 1.074GB, or gigabytes.)
This means that with the new feature, users can set up a custom machine with 12 vCPUs and 45GiB of memory that sits in between two existing instance offerings that Google already has available.
Creating custom instance types lets developers create a configuration that works best for their applications, without paying for extra capabilities. For example, Google estimates that the custom instance laid out above would cost $321.75 a month, compared to $408.80 per month for its standard counterpart with more capacity. Currently, custom instances can only run Debian, CentOS, CoreOS, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu, though Google Product Manager Sami Iqram said in a blog post that the company will support additional operating systems in the future.
The company’s competitors only let users pick from a limited menu of different instance types as rather than building their ideal configuration, users have to pick one of the preset ones that works right for them. Allowing users to set up their own instance types is a powerful pricing maneuver from Google since the company lags behind its key competition from Amazon and Microsoft. It could help attract price-conscious users who have to worry about keeping their cloud budgets fully under control.
The company also offers sustained usage pricing that gives users discounts for running a virtual machine for more than 25 percent of a month. Google also charges for compute resources by the minute, which means that as soon as users stop running a workload, they stop getting charged.