Google offers cloud for those who can wait

main-01Search engine Google is offering a new cloud computing service for customers who do not need data in a hurry.

The outfit has released a new compute service on the Google Cloud Platform that costs 70 percent less on average than an equivalent standard instance in the same configuration on the Google Compute Engine.

If you use the Google Compute Engine Preemptible Virtual Machine Google can shut down the job at any time and it will be little slower.

Writing in his bog, Google Senior Product Manager Paul Nash said there were a variety of computer tasks that fit nicely into this pricing model.

The service, now in beta, would be good for fault-tolerant workloads that can be distributed easily across multiple virtual machines. Although jobs such as data analytics, genomics, and simulation and modelling can require lots of computational power, they can run periodically, or even if one or more nodes they’re using goes offline.

Google’s budget service is somewhat 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. The Compute Engine Pre-emptible Virtual Machine can cost as little as US$0.01 per instance per hour.

Google is using leftover capacity in its data centres. If demand for its services spikes, the pre-emptible virtual machines (VMs) get bumped. Users are given a 30 second warning, which should give the application time to save its current state and work. No pre-emptible VM can run for more than 24 hours straight.

Satellite imagery processing start up Descartes Labs recently required 30,000 processors to churn through a petabyte of NASA imagery. The lower costs may help the company work with even larger sets of data. Financial investment firm Citadel is another big user of cloud computing that will put these instances to work.