Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

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matthewlai
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Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by matthewlai » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:43 pm

Full disclosure: I am a Google employee, but I don't work on GCE, and this post does not reflect the views of my employer.

Last year I made a post about Amazon's spot instances, which allows you to buy their spare compute capacity for much cheaper than their normal prices. In exchange, they are allowed to kill your VM at any time.

I used that for a bit, but found that while it's a cheap way to get a lot of compute capacity, setup is a pain in the rear end because they don't allow using a persistent disk as root volume, and insist on having spot instances start from fixed machine images (AMIs). The bidding process is also annoying, and the price you pay can change minute by minute. These problems can be worked around through clever scripting, but it takes quite a bit of work to set up.

I just realize that Google Compute Engine also offers a similar service called pre-emptible instances. The idea is the same - they sell you their unused compute capacity for cheap, in return for the right to kill your instance at any time when they need the capacity back (with 30 seconds notice through an ACPI event).

It's much nicer than Amazon spot instances though, because they work just like normal instances otherwise, and you can use persistent disks with them as root volumes. There is also no bidding. The price is fixed.

I also found the web interface much more intuitive to use, but that may not be a fair comparison because I'm already familiar with another VM service (AWS) when I started to explore it.

The only downside is they enforce a runtime limit of 24 hours for pre-emptible instances, meaning your VM will be killed at least every 24 hours. In my experience, instances do run to 24 hours most of the time (but not always).

Prices: https://cloud.google.com/products/calculator/

For 16 cores/32 threads (32 vCPU) and 28.8GB RAM and 50GB disk, it's about $0.24 per hour or $177/month if it's on all the time.

Matthew
Disclosure: I work for DeepMind on the AlphaZero project, but everything I say here is personal opinion and does not reflect the views of DeepMind / Alphabet.

Henk
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by Henk » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:48 pm

$177/month means no money left for a Holiday.

ZirconiumX
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by ZirconiumX » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:50 pm

Thus why I get somebody else to pay for a DigitalOcean droplet for $20 a month.
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I believe in the almighty printf statement.

matthewlai
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by matthewlai » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:51 pm

ZirconiumX wrote:Thus why I get somebody else to pay for a DigitalOcean droplet for $20 a month.
That gets you 2 cores. I would just run experiments locally in that case.
Disclosure: I work for DeepMind on the AlphaZero project, but everything I say here is personal opinion and does not reflect the views of DeepMind / Alphabet.

ZirconiumX
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by ZirconiumX » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:31 pm

matthewlai wrote:
ZirconiumX wrote:Thus why I get somebody else to pay for a DigitalOcean droplet for $20 a month.
That gets you 2 cores. I would just run experiments locally in that case.
Not everybody can sleep with the sound of a fan running at full pelt. I'm fine with my single testing core. It does what I need it to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
Some believe in the almighty dollar.

I believe in the almighty printf statement.

matthewlai
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by matthewlai » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:38 pm

ZirconiumX wrote:
matthewlai wrote:
ZirconiumX wrote:Thus why I get somebody else to pay for a DigitalOcean droplet for $20 a month.
That gets you 2 cores. I would just run experiments locally in that case.
Not everybody can sleep with the sound of a fan running at full pelt. I'm fine with my single testing core. It does what I need it to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sure, if that works for you.

Many people want more compute power because 10 Elo changes require thousands of games to verify. If you have a lot of patience or you are still at a stage where your changes are 50+ Elo, a single core can be enough.
Disclosure: I work for DeepMind on the AlphaZero project, but everything I say here is personal opinion and does not reflect the views of DeepMind / Alphabet.

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cdani
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by cdani » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:22 am

Someone understands the prices from the new Oracle compute service? I mean for example a 16 cores server/month like the one commented here.

I found this:

https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/compute/compute/pricing

But $75.00 for only 1 OCPU/month does not seems very comparable :-) Maybe I'm not understanding something...
Thanks

Aaron Becker
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by Aaron Becker » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:05 am

I don't think Oracle cares about selling to anyone who isn't spending millions of dollars. Computer chess hobbyists aren't really their target market :)

matthewlai
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by matthewlai » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:19 am

cdani wrote:Someone understands the prices from the new Oracle compute service? I mean for example a 16 cores server/month like the one commented here.

I found this:

https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/compute/compute/pricing

But $75.00 for only 1 OCPU/month does not seems very comparable :-) Maybe I'm not understanding something...
Thanks
The main difference is they are not pre-emptible I think. Google and Amazon can offer those low prices because they are selling their spare capacity (that they wouldn't otherwise be able to sell).

Regular offerings from both Google and Amazon cost much more, too.
Disclosure: I work for DeepMind on the AlphaZero project, but everything I say here is personal opinion and does not reflect the views of DeepMind / Alphabet.

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cdani
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Re: Google Compute Engine pre-emptible instances

Post by cdani » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:34 pm

Thanks! I hope AMD sells cheap some of his new big cpus soon :-)

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