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Google Unveils Its Answer to AWS Reserved Instances

Google's public cloud platform is giving Amazon Web Services (AWS) a run for its money, at least in regard to the cost of using compute resources.

During its Google Cloud Next event on Thursday, Google launched a beta of a new virtual machine (VM) pricing model called "Committed Use Discounts." Customers who want to use a specific level of compute resources on Google's cloud can sign a one- or three-year contract that grants them use of a set amount of virtual CPUs at a cost that's up to 57 percent less than full price.

The plan is similar to AWS' Reserved Instance pricing model, which also lets customers choose between one- and three-year contracts that guarantee them use of a specific level of Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. The cost savings that AWS promises with its Reserved Instances vary. "Standard" Reserved Instances, which come in both one- and three-year terms, can save users up to 75 percent on compute costs but are limited to just a single instance type. "Convertible" Reserved Instances are only available in three-year terms and deliver less savings (up to 45 percent), but allow users to switch instance types mid-contract.

Google's new pricing model, in contrast, has no barriers to users changing instances.

"Committed Use Discounts are based on the total amount of CPU and RAM you purchase, and give you the flexibility to use different instance and machine types; they apply automatically, even if you change instance types (or size). There are no upfront costs with Committed Use Discounts, and they are billed monthly," Google said in its announcement. In addition, if a customer's usage goes over their commitment's terms, Google will automatically apply its "Sustained Use Discount" to the overage.

Cloud management firm RightScale, which supports both AWS and Google, compared the two companies' instance pricing models and found Google's to be the better value -- at least when applied to a single, unidentified company's usage patterns.

Source: RightScale

"We used an anonymous real-world company's cloud usage that represents a typical usage pattern combining both production and development use," RightScale said in a blog post. "That scenario revealed that a 1-year commitment showed a cost for Google Compute Engine with Committed Use and Sustained Use Discounts that was 28 percent lower than an equivalent scenario on AWS with Standard RIs. Our scenario with a 3-year commitment resulted in a cost for Google that was 35 percent lower than an equivalent scenario on AWS with 3-year Convertible RIs."

In other news, Google also announced that it has lowered its Compute Engine pricing by 5 percent in the United States, 4.9 percent in Europe and 8 percent in Tokyo. It has also extended the window for new users to test the Google Cloud Platform at no charge from two months to 12, putting it on par with AWS' free tier.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the Senior Site Producer for RCPmag.com.