This new Google cloud feature is saving its customers a ton of cash


Sundar Pichai


Google Compute Engine, the search giant's cloud computing platform, is getting a new feature today called Custom Machine Types, and it's already saving some customers a ton of cash.

In a blog post, Google claims that it can save customers up to 50% on their compute costs.

In fact, Google claims that customers like the custom website building startup Wix saved 18% in compute costs in its early preview tests of Custom Machine Types. With 75 million customers served, that probably adds up to a hefty chunk of change.

The idea behind Custom Machine Types is deceptively simple. The way that big cloud computing services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine work hinges on letting customers - from small developers up to big enterprises - rent virtual server capacity on these tech titans' massive, hyper-efficient data centers. 

The usual catch is that you buy these virtual servers in the form of one-size-fits-all blocks of capacity. So if your cloud application needs, say, four processors of computing power but only 512 megabytes of memory, but the cloud provider's smallest virtual server is only two processors and 512 megabytes of memory, your options are limited. Either you get two of those, in which case you're paying for twice as much memory as you need, or you get one, and you miss out on half of your required computing power.


Enter Google's Custom Machine Types. By letting you select exactly the virtual server configurations that customers need, it cuts down on waste, and therefore, needless expenditure. If you need one processor and four gigabytes of memory, Google lets you do that.

It's just another salvo in the ongoing cloud war between Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. With the core technology features that developers expect from the cloud more-or-less settled, these tech titans have to find new ways to set themselves apart from the pack. 

The easiest way to do that is by offering a lot of price flexibility. But these services are extremely low-margin, and which means that it's also the most dangerous method of setting yourself apart. Still, developers will likely value the additional flexibility, and it could be an extra edge in this extremely competitive market.



Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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