Save by suspending VMs on Google Compute Engine | Google Cloud Blog

How it works

Suspending an instance sends an ACPI S3 signal to the instance’s operating system. This results in 2 significant advantages compared to similar functionalities from other cloud providers. 

First, this allows for broad compatibility with a wide selection of OS images without requiring you to use a cloud specific OS image or installing daemons. Undocummented and custom OS images that respond to the ACPI S3 signal may also work with Suspend. Feel free to try it out! 

Secondly, storage is dynamically provisioned when Suspend is requested and is separate from the instance’s boot disk. This is in contrast to implementations in other clouds that require you to ensure that you have sufficient empty space in your boot disk to save the instance state which may increase the running costs of your VM. This also ensures that your suspended instance only consumes as much storage as it needs.

Use cases

Many Google Cloud users have already realized huge savings from Suspending their virtual desktops or developer environments when they are not in use. For example: 

“Utilizing Compute Engine’s suspend and resume functionality has allowed BigCommerce to reduce operation costs of our Compute Engine-driven development environment. BigCommerce allows each engineer to customize their environment’s “working hours,” which triggers suspension at the end of each work day and resumption at the beginning of the next day. This has reduced our Virtual Machine Instance usage times from 168 hours a week to 60 hours a week per environment on average, enabling us to save thousands of dollars each month. We expect these cost-efficiency savings to only increase as our Engineering organization grows.”—Aaron Humerickhouse, Manager, Engineering at BigCommerce 

Another use case is to accelerate horizontal scaling by Resuming suspended instances. While Compute Engine instances have very quick creation times, booting the operating system and loading applications may take longer than you would like when urgently trying to meet a demand spike. One way to address this issue is to initialize instances with the critical applications and Suspend them. When you Resume them later, they should be productive much more quickly than instances created from scratch.  

Next steps

Learn more with our Suspend/Resume documentation.

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