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Google’s Cloud unit announced a new series of virtual machine offerings that it says can give users large percentage improvements in the economics and performance of the biggest cloud workloads when compared to other VM providers.

The new family of VMs is touted as better than Amazon’s Graviton chip-based instances. They are called Tau and according to Sachin Gupta, the Veep of infrastructure at Google Cloud, they are the best price-performance in the industry for scale-out applications.


Scale-out applications, in this context, can include internet apps such as the kind run by social media. Some of the debut customers include Snap and Twitter, who were quoted praising the capabilities of Tau VMs. Snap and Twitter use the VMs with containers, as Google provides its Kubernetes Engine (GKE), run on top of the instances.

The scale-out applications will typically be micro-services, where details of the underlying machine instances are abstracted away. They could encompass media transcoding, web serving, large log processing, and more. The Tau instances can provide up to 60 virtual CPUs per instance and are based on AMD’s 3rd Gen EPYC server processor ‘Milan.’

Performance boost

Google claims that the instances can have up to four gigs of memory per virtual CPU. Tau will be available in the third quarter of 2021. To give potential users an idea of pricing, Google offers a 32vCPU VM with 128GB RAM, priced at $1.3520 per hour for on-demand usage in us-central1. You can check out more details on pricing here.

Google says that it delivers an improvement of 56% in raw performance, according to the SPECint processor benchmark, compared to Amazon’s Graviton-based ARM processor.  Gupta asserted that Google will continue to invest in differentiating through silicon.