Google is cutting the price of one of its cloud computing services.
The search giant said on Tuesday that its so-called preemptible virtual machines now cost 33% less than before. The new pricing scheme is now in effect.
Preemptible VMs can be thought of as a way for customers to buy discounted cloud computing capacity. Amazon (AMZN) has a similar feature, called spot instances, which are the equivalent of the unused computing resources left over from its data centers that customers can bid on in an auction-like process.
This discounted way of buying computing capacity from cloud vendors can be beneficial to companies wanting to save money on their cloud computing spending.
However, these discounts come with trade-offs. For one, if a company needs to run some heavy-duty data processing on the fly and can’t afford to wait, it’s probably better off buying the traditional cloud computing instance or virtual machine for the job. These traditional cloud instances and virtual machines can be bought on-demand and are not contingent on how much extra data center resources that cloud computing companies happen to have on hand.
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Google explained in Tuesday’s blog post that its preemptible VMs are unable to run for 24 hours, and Google “can preempt (shut down) the VM earlier if we need the capacity for other purposes.” Additionally, Google said that it’s probably best for companies to use their preemptible VMs during nights and weekends because that’s when Google’s cloud data centers are likely to have more excess computing resources to share.
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From the blog post:
Our customers are using Preemptible VMs to analyze data, render movies process, satellite imagery, analyze genomic data, transcode media and complete a variety of business and engineering tasks, using thousands of Preemptible VM cores in a single job. We believe that the price reduction for Preemptible VMs will unlock even more computing opportunities and enable you to tackle interesting science and business problems.
It will be worth noting if Amazon (AMZN) decides to further lower the pricing for its own version of discounted computing or if Microsoft (MSFT) eventually rolls out a similar pricing scheme in response to Google.
Microsoft currently does not offer a similar service to Google or Amazon. Amazon seems content with its auction-like process of buying discounted cloud instances. But if Google gains traction on its competing cloud service, Amazon could be compelled to figure out how to sell those instances cheaper than they already are.