Google has today announced, in a keynote speech focused around its Google Cloud Compute Engine, that preemptible VMs are now out of beta, and are hence generally available to developers across the globe.
Preemptible VMs are a cheaper offering as compared to other Google cloud infrastructure, though they come with their own risk. While these virtual machines provide decent computing powers, they can be shut down by Google as and when the Alphabet-subsidiary wants that extra computing power to support its systems.
Additionally, Compute Engine has a finite number of available preemptible instances, so you might not be able to create them during peak usage.
Google had introduced preemptible VMs in May this year, and had been hailed a “game changer” by a lot of cloud-powered startup founders.
As for Google, the company has been making frequent attempts to make itself more appealing to devs in the public cloud space. If you’d remember, Google had quietly launched Cloud Source repositories a while back, which is a Github competitor for storing your source files. The service was however never publicly announced, perhaps because of the backlash Google faced with Google Code, back in 2008.
However, offering cheaper cloud offerings at cost of disruptions isn’t a new phenomena. Amazon has been doing a similar thing with ‘Spot Instances’, though Google’s pricing for its preemptible VMs is stable, unlike AWS’ bidding process.
Preempitble VMs however aren’t suitable for all sorts of applications. If your applications are fault-tolerant and can withstand possible instance preemptions, then preemptible instances can reduce your Compute Engine costs significantly.
For example, batch processing jobs can run on preemptible instances. If some of those instances terminate during processing, the job slows but does not completely stop. Preemptible instances complete your batch processing tasks without placing additional workload on your existing instances, and without requiring you to pay full price for additional normal instances.
You can learn more about these preemptible VMs and their requirements here.