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HomeCloud ComputingN2 VMs with Intel processor refresh enables over 30% better price-performance

N2 VMs with Intel processor refresh enables over 30% better price-performance

Today, we’re excited to announce the upcoming availability of new  Compute Engine N2 VMs powered by the 3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor (code-named Ice Lake) and new larger N2 machine shapes. N2 VMs with Intel Xeon Scalable Processors run at 2.6GHz base frequency and 3.4GHz sustained all core turbo and offer 30% or better price-performance, for a variety of workloads, compared to VMs of the same size running 2nd Generation Intel Xeon processors. 

These new N2 VMs are offered at the same price as existing N2 VMs based on 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, and their usage can be discounted using existing N2 committed use discounts. Furthermore, current N1 customers can achieve significant price-performance1 improvements for a variety of workloads  with the new N2 VMs. 

New larger machine shapes for the N2 machine family

We are also expanding our N2 VM family machine-type offering, which will now offer our largest Intel-based general-purpose predefined machines to date, with up to 128 vCPUs and 864GB of memory for scale-up workloads that can benefit from a higher number of threads. We are also increasing the N2 Custom Machine Types maximum to 96 vCPUs, offering a compelling upgrade path from first-generation general-purpose N1 machines.

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1 A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2 Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.
3 Maximum egress bandwidth cannot exceed the number given. Actual egress bandwidth depends on the destination IP address and other factors. See Network bandwidth.

The new N2 machines powered by the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processor also support recently introduced 100Gbps VM networking and high-performance 9TB local SSD options, and will become available as a new sole-tenant node type (128vCPU, 864GB), allowing consolidation of more general-purpose workloads on a single node, while providing dedicated hardware for compliance, licensing, and management needs.

New innovation

3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors offer a variety of microarchitecture and ISA enhancements compared to previous generations. They provide customers with built-in acceleration, advanced security capabilities and 

larger mid-level and last-level cache, which, when combined with higher memory bandwidth, provide significant improvements in performance. 

3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors include enhancements for Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512). Intel AVX 512 boosts performance and throughput for the most demanding computational tasks in modern applications, including modeling and simulation, data analytics and machine learning, data compression, visualization, and digital content creation. Compared to previous generations, the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor increases memory bandwidth, improves frequency management, and adds two times the FMA (intrinsic for floating point fused multiply-add [FMA] operations), enabling improved performance for specialized workloads. 

In addition, 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Processors include Intel Crypto Acceleration enhancing data protection and privacy by increasing the performance of encryption-intensive workloads including SSL web serving and VPN/firewalls. 

Improved performance for a wide variety of workloads 

The N2 family provides balanced price/performance across a wide range of VM shapes and is best suited for workloads such as web and app serving, enterprise applications, medium-to-large databases, caching, media transcoding, streaming and gaming servers. N2 VMs are ideal for workloads that require high performance per thread or for workloads that specifically take advantage of special instruction sets available in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. N2 VMs based on 3rd Generation Intel Xeon SP (Ice Lake) provide compelling performance gains for various workloads as shown in the graph below.

What customers are saying

Shopify is a leading global commerce company, providing trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size. Shopify makes commerce better for everyone with a platform and services that are engineered for reliability, while delivering a better shopping experience for buyers everywhere.

“At Shopify, we take pride in creating the best possible user experience for our merchants. We are always looking for ways to increase performance and reduce response times of our applications,” said Justin Reid, Sr. Staff Engineer, Shopify. “With Google Cloud’s new N2-Ice Lake VMs, we were able to achieve improvements on all these areas. We were able to achieve over 10% performance improvements for one of our compute-intensive workloads by running on the new N2 Ice Lake VMs and also achieve lower request latency for our users as compared to previous generation N2 Cascade Lake VMs.”

Provisioning N2 VMs with 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

New N2 machine shapes with more than 80 vCPUs will be available exclusively with the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. Customers of existing N2 machine shapes can use the Minimum CPU Platform feature (minCPU) and select “Intel Ice Lake or Later” to provision their N2 VMs on the new CPU platform when they become available. 

Google Kubernetes Engine support

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is the leading platform for organizations looking for advanced container orchestration, delivering the highest levels of reliability, security, and scalability. GKE will support N2 VMs powered by 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (Ice Lake) as soon as they are available, helping you get the most out of your containerized workloads. You can add N2 Ice Lake VMs to your GKE clusters by choosing the N2 machine type in your GKE node pools and using the minimum CPU platform as described above. 


N2 VMs with 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors will be available in preview in early Q4’21 in the us-central1, europe-west4 and asia-southeast1 regions. Availability in additional Google Cloud regions, in line with current N2 machine family regions, is planned in the coming months. Stay up-to-date on regional availability by visiting our regions and zones page or contact your Google Cloud sales representative for more information.

1. Based on price-performance improvements measured on the new N2 VMs Vs. N1 VMs such as: Server-side Java throughput under SLA (60%), H.264 Transcode (62%), MySQL 8 (79%), Nginx (85%), AES-256 Encryption (244%). 

~ For more information on 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Processors see here.

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