Google Cloud Slashes Price On Local Flash Storage

Google has slashed prices for a type of high-performance block storage used to accelerate virtual machines that process data-intensive workloads in the cloud.

Customers running on-demand Google Cloud Platform instances will see savings up to 63 percent for Local SSD storage; and the cost of Local SSDs will fall up to 71 percent for Preemptible instances.

"We hope that the price reduction on Local SSDs for on-demand and Preemptible VMs will unlock new opportunities and help you solve more interesting business, engineering and scientific problems," Google product managers Chris Kleban and Michael Basilyan wrote Tuesday on the Google Cloud blog.

[Related: Public Cloud Battle: Here's How AWS, Microsoft And Google Stack Up After Robust Earnings Calls]

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Local SSDs are flash storage drives physically attached to servers. That delivers high IOPS (input/output operations per second) and low-latency, but their data is lost when the server reboots and the instance ends. They're often used for scratch disks, caching layers and scale-out databases like NoSQL, the Google blog noted.

The price of Local SSDs falls to 8 cents per GB per month for on-demand instances, and 6.4 cents for Preemptibles, in most U.S. regions. Preemptible instances come at a lower price because they don't guarantee availability.

"Our customers are using Preemptible VMs with Local SSDs to analyze financial markets, process data, render movies, analyze genomic data, transcode media and complete a variety of business and engineering tasks, using thousands of Preemptible VM cores in a single job," the blog said.

For temporary data, instances with Local SSDs excel in performance, Google channel partners told CRN.

Scott Mellegaard, director of cloud Strategy at Trace3, a Google partner based in Irvine, Calif., said Google's local flash is already more flexible than the competitive offering from Amazon Web Services.

GCP allows adding Local SSDs in up to eight blocks of 375 GB each. While it's hard to directly compare prices because AWS offers local image storage on only some instance types, those drives come in fixed sizes, he said.

"Consistent cost of allocated block storage is one of the hidden costs of the cloud," Mellegaard told CRN. "Everyone will like a 60 percent decrease."

Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based pure-play Google partner, said the latest reduction is representative of the "new stack wars" in which Amazon, Microsoft and Google are all trying to leverage their buying power and technology.

Reducing the cost of Local SSDs probably won't impact most of his customers, Bandy said, but some with use cases like genomics or image rendering will see their bills fall.

Maybe even more impactful to the channel is the good publicity that comes with such announcements.

"Partners like Agosto benefit because it's only going to drive more adoption to the cloud. We're still early days in public cloud adoption, so the more these 'stack wars' attract customers, the better it is for my business because we make money on services," Bandy said.

AWS is so far out front in market share that Google needs to do whatever it can to attract big Fortune 500 customers, he said, and price reductions are typically effective in drawing interest.

Rajesh Abhyankar, CEO of MediaAgility, a New Jersey-based Google partner, said his firm has developed a solution for health care companies for which the new Local SSD rates will likely drive down usage costs. The solution, called LabAgility, will benefit from further reduction in costs "that we can pass on to our customers," Abhyankar said.

"At Google we're always looking to reduce total cost of ownership for our customers, pass along price reductions achieved through technology advancements and adjust our pricing so you can take advantage of technology that will help you innovate, in a manner that's simple for our users," the Google blog states.