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Thursday, 05 December 2013 16:29

Google Compute Engine opens to the world

Posted By  Marcus Austin


Google Compute Engine launches to the world with expanded OS support, transparent maintenance, and lower prices

Google announced on their official Google cloud platform blog that they will be taking the Google Compute Engine (GCE) out of beta and releasing a full-supported version with support for a wider range of Linux operating systems, including SUSE and Red Hat, as well as the ability to get upgrades and do maintenance while online, and lower prices

The Google Cloud Platform was released into beta June 2012 and has been popular with developers but it was limited in its use, by being hampered by a lack of OS support and the need to keep taking the solution down to do basic maintenance and upgrades. However those limitations didn’t put off names like Snapchat, Cooladata, Mendelics, Evite and Wix from building systems on the Compute Engine or businesses like SaltStack, Wowza, Rightscale, Qubole, Red Hat, SUSE, and Scalr producing new integrations with the Compute Engine.

Explaining on the blog, Google Platform Vice President, Ari Balogh said “Today, Google Compute Engine is Generally Available (GA), offering virtual machines that are performant, scalable, reliable, and offer industry-leading security features like encryption of data at rest. Compute Engine is available with 24/7 support and a 99.95% monthly SLA for your mission-critical workloads. We are also introducing several new features and lower prices for persistent disks and popular compute instances.”

Full support for any out of the box Linux distribution

During the extended preview period, the Compute Engine was limited to support for the Debian and Centos Linux distributions, however the new released version includes support for any out-of-the-box Linux distribution (including SELinux and CoreOS), as well as any kernel or software including Docker, FOG, xfs and aufs. Additionally it will also be supporting SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (in Limited Preview) and FreeBSD although no dates were given for this support.

Compute Engine maintenance with no downtime

Balogh also announced that the full version of the Compute Engine would be introducing transparent maintenance that combines software and data centre innovations which promise live migration technology to perform proactive maintenance while virtual machines “keep running.” Additionally the service will also offer regular updates and proactive maintenance without requiring the downtime and reboots typically required. Google have also said they will do automatic reboots on the Compute Engine on VMs but this is only currently supported in the US and will be available in Europe at a later date.


Better processors, faster storage and 60% price reductions

The new Compute Engine will also benefit from extra processor power and more storage so developers can develop systems for applications such as silicon simulation and big data type applications that use high-scale NoSQL databases.  


The new version will include three new instance types with up to 16 cores and up to 104 gigabytes of RAM, with a Persistent Disk service that promises higher durability than local disks and largest Persistent Disk volumes have up to 700% higher peak I/O capability.

The really good news for developers and application builders is that Google has promised to drop their prices by 10% on standard Compute Engine instances, 60% per Gigabyte for their Persistent Disk storage and to drop I/O charges – although no figures have yet to be announced for this.

Balogh ended the post by declaring ”We’re looking forward to this next step for Google Cloud Platform as we continue to help developers and businesses everywhere benefit from Google’s technical and operational expertise.


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