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Generally Available: The Intel Ice Lake processor on general purpose Google Cloud N2 VMs

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Google Cloud is excited to announce the general availability of new Compute Engine N2 VMs powered by the 3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor (code-named Ice Lake) and new larger N2 machine shapes. N2 VMs with Intel Xeon Scalable Processors run at 2.6GHz base frequency and 3.4GHz sustained all core turbo and offer 30% or better price-performance, for a variety of workloads, compared to VMs of the same size running 2nd Generation Intel Xeon processors. 

These new N2 VMs are offered at the same price as existing N2 VMs based on 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, and their usage can be discounted using existing N2 committed use discounts. Furthermore, current N1 customers can achieve significant price-performance1 improvements for a variety of workloads  with the new N2 VMs. 

New larger machine shapes for the N2 machine family

We are also expanding our N2 VM family machine-type offering, which will now offer our largest Intel-based general-purpose predefined machines to date, with up to 128 vCPUs and 864GB of memory for scale-up workloads that can benefit from a higher number of threads. We are also increasing the N2 Custom Machine Types maximum to 96 vCPUs, offering a compelling upgrade path from first-generation general-purpose N1 machines.


The new N2 machines powered by the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processor also support recently introduced 100Gbps VM networking and high-performance 9TB local SSD options, and will become available as a new sole-tenant node type (128vCPU, 864GB), allowing consolidation of more general-purpose workloads on a single node, while providing dedicated hardware for compliance, licensing, and management needs.

New innovation

3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors offer a variety of microarchitecture and ISA enhancements compared to previous generations. They provide customers with built-in acceleration, advanced security capabilities and 

larger mid-level and last-level cache, which, when combined with higher memory bandwidth, provide significant improvements in performance. 

3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors include enhancements for Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512). Intel AVX 512 boosts performance and throughput for the most demanding computational tasks in modern applications, including modeling and simulation, data analytics and machine learning, data compression, visualization, and digital content creation. Compared to previous generations, the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor increases memory bandwidth, improves frequency management, and adds two times the FMA (intrinsic for floating point fused multiply-add [FMA] operations), enabling improved performance for specialized workloads. 

In addition, 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Processors include Intel Crypto Acceleration enhancing data protection and privacy by increasing the performance of encryption-intensive workloads including SSL web serving and VPN/firewalls. 

Improved performance for a wide variety of workloads 

The N2 family provides balanced price/performance across a wide range of VM shapes and is best suited for workloads such as web and app serving, enterprise applications, medium-to-large databases, caching, media transcoding, streaming and gaming servers. N2 VMs are ideal for workloads that require high performance per thread or for workloads that specifically take advantage of special instruction sets available in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. N2 VMs based on 3rd Generation Intel Xeon SP (Ice Lake) provide compelling performance gains for various workloads as shown in the graph below.