Machine types

A machine type is a set of virtualized hardware resources available to a virtual machine (VM) instance, including the system memory size, virtual CPU (vCPU) count, and persistent disk limits. In Compute Engine, machine types are grouped and curated for different workloads. You can choose from general-purpose machine types, memory-optimized machine types, and compute-optimized machine types.

Choosing a machine type is required when creating an instance. You can select from a number of predefined machine types in each machine type family. If the predefined machine types do not meet your needs, you can create your own custom machine types.

Billing

You are billed for the resources that a VM instance uses. When you create a VM instance, you select a machine type for the instance and are billed as described in the VM instances pricing page. Specifically, you are billed for each vCPU and GB of memory individually, as described in resource-based billing model. Applicable discounts, such as sustained use discounts and committed use discounts apply.

To see the calculated hourly and monthly cost for each machine type, see VM instances pricing.

Machine type families

Machine types are divided into machine type families that are curated for specific workload types. The following primary machine types are offered on Compute Engine:

  • General-purpose machine types. General-purpose machine types offer the best price-performance ratio for a variety of workloads. These machine types are available in two generations:

    • The first generation N1 machine types. These machine types offer up to 96 vCPUs, 6.5 GB of memory per vCPU, and are available on Intel Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell, and Skylake CPU platforms.
    • The latest generation N2 machine types. These machine types offer up to 80 vCPUs, 8 GB of memory per vCPU, and are available on the Intel Cascade Lake CPU platforms.
  • Compute-optimized machine types. Compute-optimized machine types offer the highest performance per core on Compute Engine and are optimized for compute-intensive workloads. These machine types offer Intel Scalable Processors (Cascade Lake) and up to 3.8 GHz sustained all-core turbo.

  • Memory-optimized machine types. Memory-optimized machine types are ideal for memory-intensive workloads. These machine types offer higher memory per core than other machine type families, with up to 12 TB of memory.

Determining a machine type for your workload

Use the table below to compare each category of machine type to determine which type is appropriate for your workload. If, after reviewing this section, you are still unsure which machine type is best for your workload, using a general-purpose machine type is a good place to start.

Machine types Memory (per vCPU) vCPUs Custom machine types? Sustained-use discounts? Processors
General-purpose (N2) 0.5–8 GB 2–80 Yes Yes
  • Cascade Lake
General-purpose (N1) 0.95–6.5 GB 1–96 Yes Yes
  • Skylake
  • Broadwell
  • Haswell
  • Ivy Bridge
  • Sandy Bridge
Compute-optimized 4 GB 4–60 No Yes
  • Cascade Lake
Memory-optimized 28 GB 40–416 No Yes
  • Broadwell E7
  • Cascade Lake
Shared-core 0.60 GB 0.2–0.5 No No
  • N/A

Alternatively, use the following guide to help you pick a machine type. Click the diagram for a larger version.

General-purpose machine type family

General-purpose machine types offer the best price-performance ratio for a variety of workloads. If you are not sure which machine type is best for your workload, using a general-purpose machine type is a good place to start.

General-purpose machine types currently include the first generation N1 machine types and the latest N2 generation machine types.

N2 machine types

N2 machine types are the newest generation general-purpose machine types that offer flexible sizing between 2 to 80 vCPUs and 0.5 to 8 GB of memory per vCPU. N2 VMs run on Cascade Lake CPUs with a base frequency of 2.8 GHz and a sustained all core turbo of 3.4 GHz. These machine types also offer an overall performance improvement over N1 machine types.

Workloads that can take advantage of the higher clock frequency are a good choice for N2 machine types. These workloads can get higher per-thread performance while benefiting from all the flexibility that a general-purpose machine type offers.

In summary, N2 machine types:

  • Support up to 80 vCPUs and 640 GB of memory.
  • Are available as both predefined machine types and custom machine types. Custom machine types can be created within a wide range of memory-to-core ratio, ranging from 0.5 GB per vCPU to 8 GB per vCPU.
  • Offer higher memory-to-core ratios for VMs created with the extended memory feature. Using the extended memory feature helps control per-CPU software licensing costs while providing access to more RAM than 8 GB per vCPU.
  • Run on the latest available infrastructure technology with Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (Cascade Lake) running at 2.8 GHz, and with up to 3.4 GHz in sustained all-core-turbo.

N2 machine types are only available in the following zones during Beta:

  • us-central1-a and us-central1-c
  • europe-west4-b and europe-west4-c

The following list shows the available N2 predefined machine types.

N2 standard machine types

Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB)
n2-standard-2 Standard machine type with 2 vCPU and 8 GB of memory. 2 8 128 64
n2-standard-4 Standard machine type with 4 vCPUs and 16 GB of memory. 4 16 128 64
n2-standard-8 Standard machine type with 8 vCPUs and 32 GB of memory. 8 32 128 64
n2-standard-16 Standard machine type with 16 vCPUs and 64 GB of memory. 16 64 128 64
n2-standard-32 Standard machine type with 32 vCPUs and 128 GB of memory. 32 128 128 64
n2-standard-48 Standard machine type with 48 vCPUs and 192 GB of memory. 48 192 128 64
n2-standard-64 Standard machine type with 64 vCPUs and 256 GB of memory. 64 256 128 64
n2-standard-80 Standard machine type with 80 vCPUs and 320 GB of memory. 80 320 128 64

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

N2 high-memory machine types

N2 high-memory machine types have 8 GB of system memory per vCPU.

Machine Name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB)
n2-highmem-2 High-memory machine type with 2 vCPUs and 16 GB of memory. 2 16 128 64
n2-highmem-4 High-memory machine type with 4 vCPUs, and 32 GB of memory. 4 32 128 64
n2-highmem-8 High-memory machine type with 8 vCPUs and 64 GB of memory. 8 64 128 64
n2-highmem-16 High-memory machine type with 16 vCPUs and 128 GB of memory. 16 128 128 64
n2-highmem-32 High-memory machine type with 32 vCPUs and 256 GB of memory. 32 256 128 64
n2-highmem-48 High-memory machine type with 48 vCPUs and 384 GB of memory. 48 384 128 64
n2-highmem-64 High-memory machine type with 64 vCPUs and 512 GB of memory. 64 512 128 64
n2-highmem-80 High-memory machine type with 80 vCPUs and 640 GB of memory. 80 640 128 64

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

N2 high-CPU machine types

High-CPU machine types are ideal for tasks that require a moderate increase of vCPUs relative to memory. High-CPU machine types have 1 GB of memory per vCPU.

Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB)
n2-highcpu-2 High-CPU machine type with 2 vCPUs and 2 GB of memory. 2 2 128 64
n2-highcpu-4 High-CPU machine type with 4 vCPUs and 4 GB of memory. 4 4 128 64
n2-highcpu-8 High-CPU machine type with 8 vCPUs and 8 GB of memory. 8 8 128 64
n2-highcpu-16 High-CPU machine type with 16 vCPUs and 16 GB of memory. 16 16 128 64
n2-highcpu-32 High-CPU machine type with 32 vCPUs and 32 GB of memory. 32 32 128 64
n2-highcpu-48 High-CPU machine type with 48 vCPUs and 48 GB of memory. 48 48 128 64
n2-highcpu-64 High-CPU machine type with 64 vCPUs and 64 GB of memory. 64 64 128 64
n2-highcpu-80 High-CPU machine type with 80 vCPUs and 80 GB of memory. 80 80 128 64

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

N1 machine types

N1 machine types are Compute Engine's first generation general-purpose machine types. They are available on Skylake, Broadwell, Haswell, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge CPU platforms. N1 machine types provide the following benefits:

  • Support up to 96 vCPUs and 624 GB of memory.
  • Are available as both predefined machine types and custom machine types. Custom machine types can be created within a wide range of memory-to-core ratio, ranging from 0.95 GB per vCPU to 6.5 GB per vCPU.
  • Offer higher memory-to-core ratios for VMs created with the extended memory feature.
  • Offer a larger sustained use discount than N2 machine types.

The following list shows the available N1 predefined machine types.

N1 standard machine types

Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB)
n1-standard-1 Standard machine type with 1 vCPU and 3.75 GB of memory. 1 3.75 128 64
n1-standard-2 Standard machine type with 2 vCPUs and 7.5 GB of memory. 2 7.50 128 64
n1-standard-4 Standard machine type with 4 vCPUs and 15 GB of memory. 4 15 128 64
n1-standard-8 Standard machine type with 8 vCPUs and 30 GB of memory. 8 30 128 64
n1-standard-16 Standard machine type with 16 vCPUs and 60 GB of memory. 16 60 128 64
n1-standard-32 Standard machine type with 32 vCPUs and 120 GB of memory. 32 120 128 64
n1-standard-64 Standard machine type with 64 vCPUs and 240 GB of memory. 64 240 128 64
n1-standard-96 Standard machine type with 96 vCPUs and 360 GB of memory. 96 360 128 64

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

N1 high-memory machine types

N1 high-memory machine types have 6.50 GB of system memory per vCPU.

Machine Name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB)
n1-highmem-2 High-memory machine type with 2 vCPUs and 13 GB of memory. 2 13 128 64
n1-highmem-4 High-memory machine type with 4 vCPUs, and 26 GB of memory. 4 26 128 64
n1-highmem-8 High-memory machine type with 8 vCPUs and 52 GB of memory. 8 52 128 64
n1-highmem-16 High-memory machine type with 16 vCPUs and 104 GB of memory. 16 104 128 64
n1-highmem-32 High-memory machine type with 32 vCPUs and 208 GB of memory. 32 208 128 64
n1-highmem-64 High-memory machine type with 64 vCPUs and 416 GB of memory. 64 416 128 64
n1-highmem-96 High-memory machine type with 96 vCPUs and 624 GB of memory. 96 624 128 64

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

N1 high-CPU machine types

High-CPU machine types are ideal for tasks that require a moderate increase of vCPUs relative to memory. High-CPU machine types have 0.90 GB of memory per vCPU.

Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB)
n1-highcpu-2 High-CPU machine type with 2 vCPUs and 1.80 GB of memory. 2 1.80 128 64
n1-highcpu-4 High-CPU machine type with 4 vCPUs and 3.60 GB of memory. 4 3.60 128 64
n1-highcpu-8 High-CPU machine type with 8 vCPUs and 7.20 GB of memory. 8 7.20 128 64
n1-highcpu-16 High-CPU machine type with 16 vCPUs and 14.4 GB of memory. 16 14.4 128 64
n1-highcpu-32 High-CPU machine type with 32 vCPUs and 28.8 GB of memory. 32 28.8 128 64
n1-highcpu-64 High-CPU machine type with 64 vCPUs and 57.6 GB of memory. 64 57.6 128 64
n1-highcpu-96 High-CPU machine type with 96 vCPUs and 86.4 GB of memory. 96 86.4 128 64

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

Custom machine types

If none of the general-purpose predefined machine types match your needs, you can create a custom machine type with the number of vCPUs and amount of memory that you need for your instance.

Custom machine types are ideal for the following scenarios:

  • Workloads that are not a good fit for the predefined machine types that are available to you.
  • Workloads that require more processing power or more memory, but don't need all of the upgrades that are provided by the next larger predefined machine type.

It costs slightly more to use a custom machine type than an equivalent predefined machine type, and there are still some limitations in the amount of memory and vCPUs you can select. For more information, see Creating a VM instance with a custom machine type.

Memory-optimized machine type family

Memory-optimized machine types are ideal for tasks that require intensive use of memory with higher memory-to-vCPU ratios than the N1 high-memory machine types. These machine types are suited for in-memory databases and in-memory analytics, such as SAP HANA and business warehousing (BW) workloads, genomics analysis, SQL analysis services, and so on.

Memory-optimized machine types are only available as predefined machine types. These machine types offer at least from 14 GB to 28 GB memory per vCPU. The following restrictions apply:

Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB) Local SSD
n1-ultramem-40 Memory-optimized machine type with 40 vCPUs and 961 GB of memory. 40 961 128 64 No
n1-ultramem-80 Memory-optimized machine type with 80 vCPUs and 1.87 TB of memory. 80 1922 128 64 No
n1-ultramem-160 Memory-optimized machine type with 160 vCPUs and 3.75 TB of memory. 160 3844 128 64 No
(Beta) m2-ultramem-2083 Memory-optimized machine type with 208 vCPUs and 5.8 TB of memory. 208 5888 128 64 No
(Beta) m2-ultramem-4163 Memory-optimized machine type with 416 vCPUs and 11.7 TB of memory. 416 11,776 128 64 No
Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB) Local SSD
n1-megamem-96 Memory-optimized machine type with 96 vCPUs and 1.4 TB of memory. 96 1433.6 128 64 Yes

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.
3M2 ultramem machine types offer on-demand pricing for an evaluation period only. Long running usage requires purchasing a committed use contract. See Pricing page for more details.

Compute-optimized machine type family

Compute-optimized machine types are ideal for compute-intensive workloads. These machine types offer the highest performance per core on Compute Engine.

Compute-optimized types are only available as predefined machine types and include the C2 machine types.

C2 machine types

Built on the latest generation Intel Scalable Processors (Cascade Lake), C2 machine types offer up to 3.8 GHz sustained all-core turbo and provide full transparency into the architecture of the underlying server platforms, letting you fine-tune the performance. C2 machine types offer much more computing power, run on a newer platform, and are generally more robust for compute-intensive workloads than the N1 high-CPU machine types.

C2 machine types have the following restrictions:

  • You cannot use regional persistent disks with compute-optimized machine types.
  • C2 machine types are subject to different disk limits than general-purpose and memory-optimized machine types.
  • C2 machine types are only available in the following regions and zones:
    • us-central1-b
    • us-central1-c
    • europe-west4-b
    • europe-west4-c
Machine name Description vCPUs1 Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)2 Max total PD size (TB) Local SSD
c2-standard-4 C2 machine type with 4 vCPUs and 16 GB of memory. 4 16 128 64 Yes
c2-standard-8 C2 machine type with 8 vCPUs and 32 GB of memory. 8 32 128 64 Yes
c2-standard-16 C2 machine type with 16 vCPUs and 64 GB of memory. 16 64 128 64 Yes
c2-standard-30 C2 machine type with 30 vCPUs and 120 GB of memory. 30 120 128 64 Yes
c2-standard-60 C2 machine type with 60 vCPUs and 240 GB of memory. 60 240 128 64 Yes

1A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
2Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

Shared-core machine types

Shared-core machine types provide one vCPU that is allowed to run for a portion of the time on a single hardware Hyper-thread on the host CPU running your instance. Shared-core instances can be more cost-effective for running small, non-resource intensive applications than standard, high-memory or high-CPU machine types.

CPU Bursting

f1-micro and g1-small 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 vCPUs Memory (GB) Max number of persistent disks (PDs)1 Max total PD size (TB)
f1-micro Micro machine type with 0.2 vCPU and 0.60 GB of memory, backed by a shared physical core. 0.2 0.60 16 3
g1-small Shared-core machine type with 0.5 vCPU and 1.70 GB of memory, backed by a shared physical core. 0.5 1.70 16 3

1Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.

GPUs and machine types

You can attach GPUs only to general-purpose N1 machine types. GPUs are not supported other machine types.

Instances with lower numbers of GPUs are limited to a maximum number of vCPUs. In general, a higher number of GPUs allows you to create instances with a higher number of vCPUs and memory. For more information, see GPUs on Compute Engine.

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