What is Google Compute Engine?

The Google Cloud Platform’s foundation is the Google Cloud Engine. It’s an IaaS that lets you create self-managed Windows and Linux virtual machines that are hosted on Google’s infrastructure. Virtual machines can be run on local, long-term storage, and KVM.

Google Cloud Engine also offers a REST-based API for control and setup. It interacts with other Google Cloud Platform technologies (Google Cloud Storage, Google App Engine, Google BigQuery, and so on) to assist increase its computing capabilities, allowing it to build more complex and sophisticated applications.

Google Compute Engine (GCE) is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) solution offered on Google Cloud. That means that it offers possibility to create Virtual Machines (VM), i.e. servers in the cloud based on your needs. So GCE is basically server in the cloud and it’s up to you how you gonna use it.

So of features are:

  • when you create VM, you can select how many CPU, RAM, disk your VM will have (current maximums are 96 CPUs, 624 GB RAM, 65536 GB of disk. you have predefined (CPU and memory) as well as custom machine types
  • you can select what kind of operating system you want to use (different flavors of Linux, Windows)
  • billing is by per-seconds and GCE offers by default usage discount, i.e. as longer you use your VM (it’s turned on) you have bigger discount.
  • you can use preemtible instances which are ~70% cheaper but can last up to 24 hours, then they are shutdown and
  • you can “SSH” to VM from browser, which is cool.
  • you can set up firewall rules to control which ports will be open to internet
  • there is also cool feature which is called “live migration”, which means that if there is some maintenance of underlying host system on top of which your VM runs, they “migrate” your VM somewhere else so it’s running is uninterrupted.