Google Compute Engine

Machine Types

Machine types determine the physical specifications of your machines, such as the amount of memory, virtual cores, and persistent disk limits an instance will have. All machine types are currently managed by Google Compute Engine.

Machine types are divided in different classes, including:

  • Standard machine types
  • High CPU machine types
  • High memory machine types
  • Small machine types

Each machine type is billed differently. For pricing information, review the pricesheet.

Available Machine Types

Standard Machine Types

Machine Name Description Virtual CPUs1 Memory (GB) GCEUs
(what is this?)
Max Number Of Persistent Disks (PDs)* Max Total PD size (TB)
n1-standard-1 Standard 1 CPU machine type with 1 virtual CPU and 3.75 GB of memory. 1 3.75 2.75 16 10
n1-standard-2 Standard 2 CPU machine type with 2 virtual CPUs and 7.5 GB of memory. 2 7.50 5.50
n1-standard-4 Standard 4 CPU machine type with 4 virtual CPUs and 15 GB of memory. 4 15 11
n1-standard-8 Standard 8 CPU machine type with 8 virtual CPUs and 30 GB of memory. 8 30 22
n1-standard-16 Preview! Standard 16 CPU machine type with 16 virtual CPUs and 60 GB of memory. 16 60 44

*Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.
1For the 'n1' series of machine types, a virtual CPU is implemented as a single hyperthread on a 2.6GHz Intel Sandy Bridge Xeon or Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon (or newer) processor. This means that the 'n1-standard-2' machine type will see a whole physical core.

High Memory Machine Types*

High memory machine types are ideal for tasks that require more memory relative to virtual cores.

Machine Name Description Virtual CPUs1 Memory (GB) GCEUs
(what is this?)
Max Number Of Persistent Disks (PDs)** Max Total PD size (TB)
n1-highmem-2 High memory 2 CPU machine type with 2 virtual CPUs and 13 GB of memory. 2 13 5.50 16 10
n1-highmem-4 High memory 4 CPU machine type with 4 virtual CPUs, and 26 GB of memory. 4 26 11
n1-highmem-8 High memory 8 CPU machine type with 8 virtual CPUs and 52 GB of memory. 8 52 22
n1-highmem-16 Preview! High memory 16 CPU machine type with 16 virtual CPUs and 104 GB of memory. 16 104 44

*High memory machine types have 6.50GB of RAM per virtual core.
**Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.
1For the 'n1' series of machine types, a virtual CPU is implemented as a single hyperthread on a 2.6GHz Intel Sandy Bridge Xeon or Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon (or newer) processor. This means that the 'n1-standard-2' machine type will see a whole physical core.

High CPU Machine Types*

High CPU machine types are ideal for tasks that require more virtual cores relative to memory.

Machine Name Description Virtual CPUs1 Memory (GB) GCEUs
( what is this?)
Max Number Of Persistent Disks (PDs)** Max Total PD size (TB)
n1-highcpu-2 High CPU machine type with 2 virtual CPUs and 1.80 GB of memory. 2 1.80 5.50 16 10
n1-highcpu-4 High CPU machine type with 4 virtual CPUs and 3.60 GB of memory. 4 3.60 11
n1-highcpu-8 High CPU machine type with 8 virtual CPUs and 7.20 GB of memory. 8 7.20 22
n1-highcpu-16 Preview! High CPU machine type with 16 virtual CPUs and 14.4 GB of memory. 16 14.4 44

*High CPU machine types have one virtual core for every 0.90 GB of RAM.
**Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.
1For the 'n1' series of machine types, a virtual CPU is implemented as a single hyperthread on a 2.6GHz Intel Sandy Bridge Xeon or Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon (or newer) processor. This means that the 'n1-standard-2' machine type will see a whole physical core.

Shared-Core Machine Types

Shared-core machine types are ideal for applications that don't require a lot of resources. Shared-core instances are more cost-effective for running small, non-resource intensive applications than standard, high-memory or high-CPU instance types.

f1-micro Bursting

f1-micro machine types offer bursting capabilities that allow instances to use additional physical CPU for short periods of time. Bursting happens automatically when your instance requires more physical CPU than originally allocated. During these spikes, your instance will opportunistically take advantage of available physical CPU in bursts. Note that bursts are not permanent and are only possible periodically.

Machine Name Description Virtual CPUs Memory (GB) GCEUs
( what is this?)
Max Number Of Persistent Disks (PDs)* Max Total PD size (TB)
f1-micro Micro machine type with 1 virtual CPU, 0.60 GB of memory (no scratch disk), backed by a shared physical core. 1 0.60 Shared CPU, not guaranteed 4 3
g1-small Shared-core machine type with 1 virtual CPU, 1.70 GB of memory (no scratch disk space), backed by a shared physical core. 1 1.70 1.38

*Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

What are Google Compute Engine Units (GCEUs)?

GCEU (Google Compute Engine Unit), pronounced GQ, is a unit of CPU capacity that we use to describe the compute power of our instance types. We chose 2.75 GCEUs to represent the minimum power of one logical core (a hardware hyper-thread) on our Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge platform.


To view a list of available machine types, you can always run:

gcutil --project=google listmachinetypes

Requesting access to 16-core machine types

Currently, 16-core machine types are available in limited preview. This means that users can request access to the machine types but it is not yet available to everyone. If you would like to request access to these machine types, fill out the Limited Preview request form.

Over time, we are working to make these machine types generally available.

Using a Machine Type

In gcutil, you can specify your desired machine type by choosing it from the prompt:

user@local:~$ gcutil --project=<project-id> addinstance <instance-name>
....
13: n1-highcpu-8        8 vCPUs, 7.2 GB RAM
15: n1-highmem-2        2 vCPUs, 13 GB RAM
17: n1-highmem-4        4 vCPUs, 26 GB RAM
19: n1-highmem-8        8 vCPUs, 52 GB RAM
20: n1-highmem-16       16 vCPUs, 104 GB RAM
21: f1-micro    1 vCPU (shared physical core) and 0.6 GB RAM
22: g1-small    1 vCPU (shared physical core) and 1.7 GB RAM
>>> 20

You can also provide it using the --machine_type flag:

gcutil --project=<project-id> addinstance <instance-name> --machine_type=n1-standard-1

In the API, provide your machine type as part of the request body to create an instance:

 body = {
    'name': NEW_INSTANCE_NAME,
    'machineType': <fully-qualified-machine_type_url>,
    'networkInterfaces': [{
      'accessConfigs': [{
        'type': 'ONE_TO_ONE_NAT',
        'name': 'External NAT'
       }],
      'network': <fully-qualified-network_url>
    }],
    'disk': [{
       'source': <fully-qualified-boot-disk-url>,
       'boot': 'true',
     }]
  }

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