back to article Your mission, should you accept it, is to use cheap VMs before they self-destruct

Google has taken another step in the never-ending cloud price-cutting dance, shimmying to make the cost of VMs as little as a cent an hour. That price only applies, however, to what the Alphabet subsidiary calls “Preemptible VMs”, cloudy virtual machines that can only run for 24 hours. And which Google can shut down at any …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Excellent...

    ..my short term phishing scam now costs even less to run.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent...

      I'd actually be quite interested in a full IP list of AWS, Google and Azure hosting so I can set up a generic iptables block to keep them from my systems. After all, those IP ranges are not going to contain users, only machines...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Excellent...

        How are people going to find you if you don't want the machines to index your site.

        If your site is not for the public, maybe you can just restrict it to the users you do want to access it using a certificate.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excellent...

          How are people going to find you if you don't want the machines to index your site.

          Search engine <> Google cloud. It's rather easy to identify the Google scraping for the search engine its query is quite consistent. All the other crud shows up in my 404 logs, and it's either from a country I'm unlikely to ever deal with (so that's ipset + country network list and bye bye) or from large scale providers that basically could not care less as long as they get their rent money - see above. Add OV-bloody-H in France to that list, by the way, so I'll need to spend some time browsing the ARIN data to find what I need to block.

          That way I only have to deal with the remainder, such as morons that think hitting postfix-sasl authentication 40 times with the exact same passwords is somehow going to deliver a different result. fail2ban normally throws them out, but if I see them too often despite extended trip and ban times I'll throw them into a perma blacklist. I have better things to do with my time.

          I really need to dig out some tarpit scripts that I can send these people into - the majority of these things come from Windows boxes (according to the occasional nmap -O I've sent their way which is legal where I live), which happily get stuck there.

  2. knarf

    Sounds good to me

    If you a bunch of data you want to process over a couple of weeks then this looks idea.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Sounds good to me

      "If you a bunch of data you want to process over a couple of weeks then this looks idea."

      Looks like you're typing this on a machine that is being pre-empted by another user/process; the result seems to be that you're missing some words that make your comment meaningful.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has been the case for 6 months

    I've been using them for at least three.. Not bad for running jobs if you have a decent scheduler that can accommodate system failure well. Sorry to be snarky but what is the news here? Have they changed something about the way pre-emptible instances work?

    1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: This has been the case for 6 months

      The focus of the story was the price cut. Or I hoped it was.

  4. Dead Parrot

    Sounds perfect...

    ...for brute-forcing the NTLM hashes Windows boxes are throwing around like confetti. I can see a market here...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's translate this..

    Google says it's been able to drop the price of such VMs because its cloud has grown and it's become more efficient at identifying resources it can toss into the preemptive pool.

    Yes, that's what they would say, but if we take that statement at face value it suggests that Google is less bothered about the reliability of what it tosses in that pool.

    I read this different, however, because the real driver behind the price cuts is in my opinion an attempt to rob the competition of income - a classic strategy that suggests once again that Google is following the Microsoft playbook pretty much to the letter, and which predicts price rises as soon as they have reached a sufficient volume of lock in (think Microsoft in education if you need any idea how that works).

    In that context I'd be interested to see if Google is better at avoiding accusations of cross subsidy than Microsoft - time will tell.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's translate this..

      The only ones that can compete are AWS and MS.

      Choose your poison.

  6. XSV1

    "And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing."

    Why would anyone want to rent a VM that could disappear at any moment?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: "And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing."

      To very cheaply batch-process data held where it isn't going to disappear?

    2. springsmarty

      Re: "And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing."

      Any application that responds well to nuke-and-pave provisioning, is highly parallelizable, and has relaxed latency requirements would be a good fit here, such as a SETI-at-home type of project, or a huge Hadoop query.

      1. XSV1

        Re: "And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing."

        Point conceded

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing."

      "Why would anyone want to rent a VM that could disappear at any moment"

      That is a quite common product offering -- AWS has spot instances with the same feature and they are very useful for adding capacity to stateless services -- think for example of massive data transformations in big data, or large arrays of web site gateways.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "And which Google can shut down at any moment of its choosing."

      Why would anyone want to rent a VM that could disappear at any moment?

      Scary answer: maybe because they don't want to leave behind any evidence?

  7. Doogie Howser MD

    So just like spot instances then?

    Or am I missing something? Cheap but expendable. Bit like Katie Price I guess.

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