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Google Compute Engine

google compute engine, google compute engine certification
Google Compute Engine GCE is the Infrastructure as a Service IaaS component of Google Cloud Platform which is built on the global infrastructure that runs Google’s search engine, Gmail, YouTube and other services Google Compute Engine enables users to launch virtual machines VMs on demand VMs can be launched from the standard images or custom images created by users GCE users need to get authenticated based on OAuth 20 before launching the VMs Google Compute Engine can be accessed via the Developer Console, RESTful API or Command Line Interface


  • 1 History
  • 2 Google Compute Engine Unit GCEU
  • 3 Persistent Disks
  • 4 Images
  • 5 Machine Types
  • 6 Billing and discounts
  • 7 Machine Type Comparison
  • 8 Resources
    • 81 Image
    • 82 Machine Type
    • 83 Disk
    • 84 Snapshot
    • 85 Instance
    • 86 Network
    • 87 Address
    • 88 Firewall
    • 89 Route
  • 9 Regions & Zones
  • 10 Scope of Resources
  • 11 Features
    • 111 Billing & Pricing Model
    • 112 VM Performance
    • 113 Disk Performance
    • 114 Global Scope for Images & Snapshots
    • 115 Transparent Maintenance
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links


Google announced Compute Engine on June 28, 2012 at Google I/O 2012 in a limited preview mode In April 2013, GCE was made available to customers with Gold Support Package On February 25, 2013, Google announced that RightScale was their first reseller During Google I/O 2013, many features including sub-hour billing, shared-core instance types, larger persistent disks, enhanced SDN based networking capabilities and ISO 27001 certification got announced GCE became available to everyone on May 15, 2013 Layer 3 load balancing came to GCE on August 7, 2013 Finally, on December 2, 2013, Google announced that GCE is generally available It also expanded the OS support, enabled live migration of VMs, 16-core instances, faster persistent disks and lowered the price of standard instances

At the Google Cloud Platform Live event on March 25, 2014, Urs Hölzle, Senior VP of technical infrastructure announced sustained usage discounts, support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Cloud DNS and Cloud Deployment Manager On May 28, 2014, Google announced optimizations for LXC containers along with dynamic scheduling of Docker containers across a fleet of VM instances

Google Compute Engine Unit GCEU

Google compute engine unit GCEU, which is pronounced as GQ, is an abstraction of compute resources According to Google, 275 GCEUs represent the minimum power of one logical core a hardware hyper-thread based on the Sandy Bridge platform

Persistent Disks

Every Google Compute Engine instance starts with a disk resource called persistent disk Persistent disk provides the disk space for instances and contains the root filesystem from which the instance boots Persistent disks can be used as raw block devices By default, Google Compute Engine uses SCSI for attaching persistent disks Persistent Disks provide straightforward, consistent and reliable storage at a consistent and reliable price, removing the need for a separate local ephemeral disk Persistent disks need to be created before launching an instance Once attached to an instance, they can be formatted with the native filesystem A single persistent disk can be attached to multiple instances in read-only mode Each persistent disk can be up to 10TB in size Google Compute Engine encrypts the persistent disks with AES-128-CB, and this encryption is applied before the data leaves the virtual machine monitor and hits the disk Encryption is always enabled and is transparent to Google Compute Engine users The integrity of persistent disks is maintained via a HMAC scheme

On June 18, 2014, Google announced support for SSD persistent disks These disks deliver up to 30 IOPS per GB which is 20x more write IOPS and 100x more read IOPS than the standard persistent disks


An image is a persistent disk that contains the operating system and root file system that is necessary for starting an instance An image must be selected while creating an instance or during the creation of a root persistent disk By default, Google Compute Engine installs the root filesystem defined by the image on a root persistent disk Google Compute Engine provides CentOS and Debian images as standard Linux images Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 images are a part of the premier operating system images which are available for an additional fee CoreOS, the lightweight Linux OS based on Chromium OS is also supported on Google Compute Engine

Machine Types

Google Compute Engine uses KVM as the hypervisor, and supports guest images running Linux and Microsoft Windows which are used to launch virtual machines based on the 64 bit x86 architecture VMs boot from a persistent disk that has a root filesystem The number of virtual CPUs, amount of memory supported by the VM is dependent on the machine type selected

Billing and discounts

Once an instance is run for over 25% of a billing cycle, the price starts dropping

  • If an instance is used for 50% of the month will get a 10% discount over the on-demand prices
  • If an instance is used for 75% of the month will get a 20% discount over the on-demand prices
  • If an instance is used for 100% of the month will get a 30% discount over the on-demand prices

Machine Type Comparison

Google provides certain types of machine types:

1- Standard machine: 375 GB of Ram per virtual CPU

2- High memory machine: 65 GB of Ram per virtual CPU

3- High CPU machine: 09 GB of Ram per virtual CPU

4- Shared machine: CPU and RAM are shared between customers

The prices mentioned below are based on running standard Debian or CentOS Linux VMs VMs running proprietary operating systems will be charged more

Machine Type Machine Name Virtual Cores Memory Cost per Hour US hosted Cost per Hour Europe hosted
Standard n1-standard-1 1 375GB $0070 $0077
Standard n1-standard-2 2 75GB $0140 $0154
Standard n1-standard-4 4 15GB $0280 $0308
Standard n1-standard-8 8 30GB $0560 $0616
Standard n1-standard-16 16 60GB $1120 $1232
High Memory n1-highmem-2 2 13GB $0164 $0180
High Memory n1-highmem-4 4 26GB $0328 $0360
High Memory n1-highmem-8 8 52GB $0656 $0720
High Memory n1-highmem-16 16 104GB $1312 $1440
High CPU n1-highcpu-2 2 180GB $0088 $0096
High CPU n1-highcpu-4 4 360GB $0176 $0192
High CPU n1-highcpu-8 8 720GB $0352 $0384
High CPU n1-highcpu-16 16 1440GB $0704 $0768
Shared Core f1-micro 1 060GB $0013 $0014
Shared Core g1-small 1 170GB $0035 $00385


Compute Engine connects various entities called resources that will be a part of the deployment Each resource performs a different function When a virtual machine instance is launched, an Instance resource is created that uses other resources, such as Disk resources, Network resources, Image resources, and so on For example, a Disk resource functions as data storage for the virtual machine, similar to a physical hard drive, and a Network resource helps regulate traffic to and from the instances


An image resource contains an operating system and root file system necessary for starting the instance Google maintains and provides images that are ready-to-use or users can customize an image and use that as an image of choice for creating instances Depending on the needs, users can also apply an image to a persistent disk and use the persistent disk as the root file system

Machine Type

An instance's machine type determines the number of cores, the memory, and the I/O operations supported by the instance


Persistent disks are independent of the virtual machines that outlive an instance's lifespan All information stored on the persistent disks is encrypted before being written to physical media, and the keys are tightly controlled by Google

Type Price per GB / month
Standard provisioned space $004
SSD provisioned space $017
Snapshot storage $0026
IO operations No additional charge

Each instance can attach only a limited amount of total persistent disk space You can have up to 64 TB to most instances and a limited number of individual persistent disks You can attach up to 16 independent persistent disks to most instances


Persistent disk snapshots lets the users copy data from existing persistent disk and apply them to new persistent disks This is especially useful for creating backups of the persistent disk data in cases of unexpected failures and zone maintenance events


A Google Compute Engine instance is a virtual machine running on a Linux or Microsoft Windows configuration Users can choose to modify the instances including customizing the hardware, OS, disk, and other configuration options


A network defines the address range and gateway address of all instances connected to it It defines how instances communicate with each other, with other networks, and with the outside world Each instance belongs to a single network and any communication between instances in different networks must be through a public IP address

Your Cloud Platform Console project can contain multiple networks, and each network can have multiple instances attached to it A network allows you to define a gateway IP and the network range for the instances attached to that network By default, every project is provided with a default network with preset configurations and firewall rules You can choose to customize the default network by adding or removing rules, or you can create new networks in that project Generally, most users only need one network, although you can have up to five networks per project by default

A network belongs to only one project, and each instance can only belong to one network All Compute Engine networks use the IPv4 protocol Compute Engine currently does not support IPv6 However, Google is a major advocate of IPv6 and it is an important future direction


When an instance is created, an ephemeral external IP address is automatically assigned to the instance by default This address is attached to the instance for the life of the instance and is released once the instance has been terminated GCE also provides mechanism to reserve and attach static IPs to the VMs An ephemeral IP address can be promoted to a static IP address


A firewall resource contains one or more rules that permit connections into instances Every firewall resource is associated with one and only one network It is not possible to associate one firewall with multiple networks No communication is allowed into an instance unless a firewall resource permits the network traffic, even between instances on the same network


Google Compute Engine offers a routing table to manage how traffic destined for a certain IP range should be routed Similar to a physical router in the local area network, all outbound traffic is compared to the routes table are appropriately forwarded if the outbound packet matches any rules in the routes table

Regions & Zones

A region refers to a geographic location of Google's infrastructure facility Users can choose to deploy their resources in one of the available regions based on their requirement As of June 1, 2014, Google Compute Engine is available in central US region, Western Europe and Asia East region

A zone is an isolated location within a region Zones have high-bandwidth, low-latency network connections to other zones in the same region In order to deploy fault-tolerant applications that have high availability, Google recommends deploying applications across multiple zones in a region This helps protect against unexpected failures of components, up to and including a single zone As of August 5, 2014, there are eight zones - three each in central US region and Asia East region and two zones in Western Europe region

Scope of Resources

All resources within GCE belong to the global, regional, or zonal plane Global resources are accessible from all the regions and zones For example, images are a global resource so users can launch a VM in any region based on a global image But an address is a regional resource that is available only to the instances launched in one of the zones within the same region Instances are launched in a specific zone that requires the zone specification as a part of all requests made to that instance

The table below summarises the scope of GCE resources:

Scope Resource
Global Image
Global Snapshot
Global Network
Global Firewall
Global Route
Region Address
Zone Instance
Zone Machine Type
Zone Disk


Billing & Pricing Model

Google charges the VMs for a minimum of 10 minutes At the end of 10th minute, instances are charged in 1-minute increments, rounded up to the nearest minute Sustained usage based pricing will credit the discounts to the customers based on the monthly utilisation Users need not pay a commitment fee upfront to get discounts on the regular, on-demand pricing

VM Performance

Compute Engine VMs boot within 30 seconds which is considered to be 4-10x faster than the competition

Disk Performance

The persistent disks of Compute Engine deliver higher IOPS consistently With the cost of provisioned IOPS included within the cost of storage, users need not pay separately for the IOPS

Global Scope for Images & Snapshots

Images and disk snapshots belong to the global scope which means they are implicitly available across all the regions and zones of Google Cloud Platform This avoids the need for exporting and importing images and snapshots between regions

Transparent Maintenance

During the scheduled maintenance of Google data center, Compute Engine can automatically migrate the VMs from one host to the other without involving any action from the users This delivers better uptime to applications


  1. ^ Barb Darrow February 25, 2013 "Exclusive: RightScale is first to resell, support Google Compute Engine" Gigaom blog Retrieved July 5, 2013 
  2. ^ Google June 10, 2014 "Containers on Google Cloud Platform" Google Compute Engine documentation Retrieved June 10, 2014 
  3. ^ Metz, Cade 3 July 2012 "Google Shaman Explains Mysteries of 'Compute Engine'" Wired Retrieved 26 September 2016 
  4. ^ Buttler, Brandon "Google rolls out by-the-minute cloud billing, introduces a new NoSQL database" NetworkWorld Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  5. ^ Joneja, Navneet "Introducing Sustained Use Discounts - Automatically pay less for sustained workloads on Compute Engine" Google Cloud Blog Google Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  6. ^ Babcock, Charles 2014-03-28 "Google Wins In Amazon Cloud Price Battle" InformationWeek Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  7. ^ Staddill, Sebastian "By the numbers: How Google Compute Engine stacks up to Amazon EC2" Gigaom Gigaom Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  8. ^ Stadill, Sebastian "Scalr Cloud Benchmarks" Scalr Cloud Benchmarks Scalr Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  9. ^ "Persistent Disk Pricing" Google Compute Engine Documentation Google Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  10. ^ "Global Resources" Google Compute Engine Documentation Google Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  11. ^ Adler, Brian "Google Compute Engine Live Migration Passes the Test" RightScale Blog RightScale Retrieved 6 April 2014 
  12. ^ Leong, Lydia "Google Compute Engine and live migration" Blog 

External links

  • Official website
  • Google I/O 2012 - Introducing Google Compute Engine on YouTube

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