A central processing unit, also called a processor or CPU, is an essential piece of computer hardware that executes the instructions from a computer program.

CPUs perform arithmetic, logic, and I/O operations defined by its instruction set. A computer’s operating system manages the scheduling of when programs run on the CPU.

A shared central processing unit, or shared CPU, is a CPU with portions of its resources split up amongst several projects. Through the CPU scheduler, you can allocate different numbers of CPU shares to different projects, with more CPU shares lending that project more of the CPU’s resources. CPU shares define the importance of different workloads relative to other workloads.

A dedicated central processing unit, or dedicated CPU, is a CPU that is exclusively assigned to one virtual machine or project. You can use the dedicated CPU for specific applications, resulting in better consistency and efficiency.