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Google Cloud GPUs to Provide Stiff Competition for Microsoft

Just in case the concept of cloud computing isn't complicated enough, the infrastructure just became a little more muddied with the integration of graphic processing units. This seems like an odd pairing at first glance. After all, cutting edge graphics aren't exactly associated with the cloud. However, GPUs can handle the large-scale digital simulations that the cloud has become known for.

The use of cloud-oriented GPUs isn't limited strictly to digital modeling or simulation. By linking a number of units together, researchers are able to support in-depth statistical analysis, machine-based learning, seismic research and even digital video rendering. As you can see, the modern GPU has the potential to revolutionize modern cloud computing.

Moreover, users of Google's cloud are able to utilize 8 separate GPUs within a non-shared-core device. Priced per the minute and deployable in a matter of matters, customers are only required to pay for the functionality that is actually used.

Representatives with Google summarized the benefits of GPU integration in a recent blog post by stating: "CPU-based machines in the cloud are terrific for general purpose computing, but certain tasks such as rendering or large-scale simulations are much faster on specialized processors. Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) contain hundreds of times as many computational cores as CPUs and are great at accelerating risk analysis, studying molecular binding or optimizing the shape of a turbine blade. If your CPU-based instance feels like a Formula One race car but you’re in need of a rocket, you’re going to love our new cloud GPUs."

It's one thing for a company to tout their own product or service. However, the praise isn't coming from Google alone. In fact, a recent blog post highlights a number of comments from some of the new service's earliest users, all of whom are giving it quite the reception.

Simon Pickle, lead engineer with the visual effects software company The Foundry, explained how the use of cloud-oriented GPUs could impact his entire industry. He was quoted as saying: "At The Foundry, we're really excited about VFX in the cloud, and with the arrival of GPUs on Google Cloud Platform, we'll have access to the cutting edge of visualization technology, available on-demand and charged by the minute. The potential ramifications for our industry are enormous."

Although Google's program is still in its early access phase, the large-scale use of cloud-based GPUs has already been proven. Microsoft introduced Nvidia GPUs to their Azure cloud platform in early 2016 and Amazon's EC2 P2 instance is recognized as the largest GPU-powered virtual machine within the modern cloud. While Google has a bit of catching up to do, it's safe to say that they're well on their way.

Google hasn't announced an exact timeline regarding the official and full implementation of Nvidia GPUs into their current cloud framework. However, given the immediate success of their introductory phase, as well as the fact that their competitors have been offering GPU-driven cloud computing for months, one can assume that we'll see the launch of Google's new service sooner rather than later.

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