Skip to main content

Compute Engine: Choosing the right machine family and type

Choosing the right VM family is the first step in driving efficiency for your workloads. For organizations that want to run virtual machines (VMs) in Google Cloud, Compute Engine offers multiple machine families to choose from, each suited for specific workloads and applications. Within every machine family there is a set of machine types that offer a prescribed combination of processor and memory configuration.

  • General purpose - These machines balance price and performance and are suitable for most workloads including databases, development and testing environments, web applications, and mobile gaming.

  • Compute-optimized - These machines provide the highest performance per core on Compute Engine and are optimized for compute-intensive workloads, such as high performance computing (HPC), game servers, and latency-sensitive API serving.

  • Memory-optimized - These machines offer the highest memory configurations across our VM families with up to 12 TB for a single instance. They are well-suited for memory-intensive workloads such as large in-memory databases like SAP HANA and in-memory data analytics workloads.

  • Accelerator-optimized - These machines are based on the NVIDIA Ampere A100 Tensor Core GPU. With up to 16 GPUs in a single VM, these machines are suitable for demanding workloads like CUDA-enabled machine learning (ML) training and inference, and HPC.

General purpose Family

These machines provide a good balance of price and performance, and are suitable for a wide variety of common workloads. You can choose from four general purpose machine types:


For flexibility, general purpose machines come as predefined (with a preset number of vCPUs and memory), or can be configured as custom machine types. Custom machine types allow you to independently configure CPU and memory to find the right balance for your application, so you only pay for what you need.

  • E2 offers the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) on Google Cloud with up to 31% savings compared to the first generation N1. E2 VMs run on a variety of CPU platforms (across Intel and AMD), and offer up to 32 vCPUs and 128GB of memory per node.

  • N2 introduced the 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (Cascade Lake) to Compute Engine’s general purpose family.  Compared with first-generation N1 machines, N2s offer a greater than 20% price-performance improvement for many workloads and support up to 25% more memory per vCPU.

  • N2D VMs are built on the latest 2nd Gen AMD EPYC (Rome) CPUs, and support the highest core count and memory of any general-purpose Compute Engine VM.  N2D VMs are designed to provide you with the same features as N2 VMs including local SSD, custom machine types, and transparent maintenance through live migration.

  • N1s are first-generation general purpose VMs and offer up to 96 vCPUs and 624GB of memory . For most use cases we recommend choosing one of the second-generation general purpose machine types above. For GPU workloads, N1 supports a variety of NVIDIA GPUs.

Compute-optimized Family

Compute-optimized machines focus on the highest performance per core and the most consistent performance to support real-time applications performance needs. Based on 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (Cascade Lake), and offering up to 3.8 GHz sustained all-core turbo, these VMs are optimized for compute-intensive workloads such as HPC, gaming (AAA game servers), and high-performance web serving. Compute-optimized machines produce a greater than 40% performance improvement compared to the previous generation N1 and offer higher performance per thread and isolation for latency-sensitive workloads. Compute-optimized VMs come in different shapes ranging from 4 to 60 vCPUs, and offer up to 240 GB of memory. You can choose to attach up to 3TB of local storage to these VMs for applications that require higher storage performance.

Memory-optimized family

Memory-optimized machine types offer the highest memory in our VM family. With VMs that range in size from 1TB to 12TBs of memory, and offer up to 416 vCPUs, these VMs offer the most compute and memory resources of any Compute Engine VM offering. They are well suited for large in-memory databases such as SAP HANA, as well as in-memory data analytics workloads.  M1 VMs offer up to 4TB of memory, while M2 VMs support up to 12TB of memory. 

M1 and M2 VM types also offer the lowest cost per GB of memory on Compute Engine, making them a great choice for workloads that utilize higher memory configurations with low compute resources requirements. For workloads such as Microsoft SQL Server and similar databases, these VMs allow you to provision only the compute resources you need as you leverage larger memory configurations.

M1 and M2 VMs offer up to 30% sustained use discounts and are also eligible for committed use discounts, bringing additional savings of up to >60% for three-year commitments.

Accelerator-optimized family

The accelerator-optimized family is the latest addition to the Compute Engine portfolio. A2s are currently available via our alpha program, with public availability expected  later this year. The A2 is based on the latest NVIDIA Ampere A100 GPU and was designed to meet today’s most demanding applications such as machine learning and HPC. A2 VMs were the first NVIDIA Ampere A100 Tensor Core GPU-based offering on a public cloud.


Hanan Youssef

Product Manager, Compute Engine


Popular posts from this blog

Use Vault for Gmail Confidential Messages and Jamboard Files

Google vault will be supporting two new formats in the future, Gmail confidential mode emails & Jamboard files stored in Google Drive. Google Vault gives you a chance to retain, hold, search, and export data to support your organization’s retention and eDiscovery needs. This dispatch includes support for new information types with the goal that you can thoroughly oversee your association's information. What happens when individuals in your association sends confidential messages? Vault can hold, retain, search, and export all confidential mode messages sent by users in your association. Messages are constantly accessible to Vault, notwithstanding when the sender sets a termination date or denies access to private messages. Here’s an example of what will see in Vault when they search for and preview this email sent by . But It’ll not work vise versa. Admins can hold, retain, search and export message headers and s

Zoom’s Work Transformation Summit on Jan. 19: Fresh Approaches for Moving Forward

These past two years have undoubtedly reshaped work. More specifically, these past two years — shuffling between remote, in-person, and hybrid work scenarios — reshaped what employees expect out of their jobs, how they want to work, and what the office means to them.  Organizations are challenged with making big decisions to meet those expectations, and those decisions will dramatically alter how they hire, manage their facilities, buy technology, and maintain productivity. Simply adjusting policies and retooling previous work models won’t do. It takes a comprehensive reimagining. To help organizations navigate this next phase of work, Zoom is hosting our  Work Transformation Summit  on Jan. 19, a free, half-day virtual event designed to provide you and your organization with meaningful strategies, creative approaches, and innovative solutions for redefining work.  Summit attendees will have the opportunity to hear from peers and industry experts on the importance of embracing technolo

Access well-known educational technology tools straight from Google Classroom.

  We're making it simpler for instructors to use popular EdTech products that are most effective for their class right in Google Classroom with a new seamless integration of single sign-on, assigning, and grading. With the help of this feature, teachers can find, assign, and grade interesting content for their classes, and both teachers and students can access their EdTech tools without needing to navigate to other websites or apps or go through a cumbersome login process that requires remembering numerous usernames and passwords. This offers a more simplified experience when using technology to affect learning, in addition to saving instructors and students time. We partnered with 15+ EdTech companies to build custom add-ons, including Kahoot!, Pear Deck, IXL, and Nearpod.  Admins :  In order for educators to use add-ons, district administrators must provide access to them. For further information on how to install the add-ons functionality and specific add-ons for a domain, OU, o