Google’s Compute Engine now lets you choose between CPU platforms

Google is updating its Compute Engine cloud computing service today with a number of new features that are especially interesting to users who need high-performance processors and/or access to a lot of memory.

Underlying many of these updates is the general availability of Intel’s next-generation Skylake Xeon processors with up to 64 cores on the platform. Skylake support went into beta in February. These machines are now available in three of Google’s Cloud Platform regions: Western U.S., Western Europe and Eastern Asia Pacific. Support in other regions will follow shortly.

In addition, Google today announced that 64-core instances and support for Broadwell CPUs is now available in all of its regions.

Given that Compute Engine now features quite a variety of Intel-based CPU platforms (Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell and now Skylake), Google now also gives you the option to choose which one you want to use for your project. To do this, you simply select your preferred CPU platform and you are always guaranteed to get at least the one you select and potentially even a newer one.

For the next 60 days, Skylake virtual machines (VMs) will cost the same as VMs that use older machines; after that, Skylake machines will be about 6 to 10 percent more expensive than machines that use older CPUs.

With this update, Compute Engine users will also now be able to attach up to 455 GB of memory per VM instance when they opt for building their own custom machine type and choose the new extended memory option. Previously, you had to adhere to a certain ratio between memory and the number of virtual CPUs that topped out at 6.5 GB.