Google Releases Preemptible VMs For Inexpensive Batch Computing

Google on Tuesday made its Preemptible cloud instances generally available to all its Cloud Platform customers, giving many an opportunity to save cash when running large batch jobs that don't need to be prioritized.

Preemptible virtual machines on Compute Engine, Google's Infrastructure-as-a-Service product, are 70 percent cheaper than their on-demand counterparts. They are indicative of a maturation in how hyperscale cloud providers engage in price competitions -- offering innovative solutions to discount particular use cases.

"Preemptible VMs are the same as regular compute instances except for one key difference -- they may be shut down at any time," according to a Google statement.

[Related: Is Google Reigniting The Cloud Price Wars?]

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Dj Das, founder and CEO of Third Eye Consulting, a Google partner based in San Francisco, told CRN there are many potential clients that can sacrifice the immediacy of a typical cloud VM and wait for supply-and-demand conditions to leave resources underutilized.

"The introduction of the Google Compute Engine Preemptible VMs which runs short-duration batch jobs at 70 percent cheaper than regular VMs offers a great choice for many companies, including Third Eye," Das told CRN via email.

Google called attention to Cycle Computing, a Cloud Platform partner that specializes in deploying high-performance computing clusters that allow customers to essentially rent supercomputers by the hour.

Cycle Computing, through its CycleCloud software for deploying clusters, put Preemptibles to work in the fight against cancer by empowering the Broad Institute to evaluate more than a million biological samples.

CycleCloud "executed 3 decades of cancer research in an afternoon, on a petascale computer for less than the cost of a single server, instead of months on local computers," according to the Cycle Computing blog.

On behalf of Broad, a genomic researcher that needs to sequence or genotype large numbers of samples, Cycle Computing ran a 51,200 core Preemptible cluster.

"We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to utilize Google Compute Engine’s Preemptible VMs to further their cancer research, which was a natural part of our mission," said the Cycle Computing blog.

Paul Nash, senior product manager for Google Compute Engine, wrote in a Google blog: "Customers already using CycleCloud will find that Google Compute Engine Preemptible VMs are an easy choice for reducing costs for financial, big data, insurance, manufacturing, life sciences and engineering workloads, whether you need 50 cores or 50,000."