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By | Simon Sharwood 10th August 2016 07:36

Your mission, should you accept it, is to use cheap VMs before they self-destruct

Google finds a new way to drop cloud computing costs, but is still breaking itself

Google has taken another step in the never-ending cloud price-cutting dance, shimmying to make the cost of VMs as little as a cent an hour.

That price only applies, however, to what the Alphabet subsidiary calls “Preemptible VMs”, cloudy virtual machines that can only run for 24 hours. And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing.

If you can tolerate that kind of precarious arrangement, Google will rent you an n1-standard-1 instance packing one vCPU and 3.75 GB of memory for the above-mentioned price.

Preemptive VMs come from excess capacity that more regular Google cloud users aren't putting to good use, but which Google thinks it is safe to rent on this short-term basis. Because the resources backing the VMs are likely to be summoned back into service by a higher-paying customer, costs are low.

Google says it's been able to drop the price of such VMs because its cloud has grown and it's become more efficient at identifying resources it can toss into the preemptive pool.

That's good news on two fronts: growth suggests more customers and improved algorithms hints at Google getting better at running its cloud. The former change is always welcome. The latter is also good news, not least because the company has again 'fessed up to breaking its own cloud with an immature process that turned what should have been a simple upgrade into an outage. ®

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