How to Use Google Compute Engine
Once you determine what kind of VMs you are going to use when running Compute Engine, you can explore how to best use it to keep your apps up and running. The solution has many features to help you easily do this. Some notable ones include...
Your OS doesn’t limit your ability to use Google Compute Engine. You can run any of the following with this service — Debian, CentOS, CoreOS, SUSE, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, FreeBSD, or Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2, and 2016. That’s not all; you can bring your own shared image or use one from the Google Cloud community. And speaking of OS needs, you also can patch your OS across a set of VMs in Google Compute Engine. It even can be automated, if you choose.
Compute Engine can live-migrate your instances across servers without having to shut down for patching and maintenance (e.g., security). You can flag whether you want to include your VMs in the live migration or have scheduled downtime for Google to apply the patches.
Google Persistent Disk, durable and high-performance block storage for GCP, is available in solid-state-drive (SSD) or hard-disk-drive (HDD) formats to use with your VM instances. You can take snapshots and create new persistent disks from those shots. Persistent disks retain data after a VM is terminated and can be attached to another instance.
Speaking of SSD, did you know that Google Compute Engine also offers local SSD storage that is physically attached to the server that houses the VM instance? They’re always encrypted and are designed for high input/output operations per second (IOPS). Local SSD offers lower latency than persistent disks.
Some workloads need a little boost to keep going. You know the ones — those that are computationally intensive, such as machine learning, 3D visualization or medical analysis, to name just a few. GPU accelerators can speed things up on an as-needed basis. Add them to your VMs for these types of workloads and remove them when you are done. You pay only for the time when you are using the resources.
Global Load Balancing
Looking to maintain maximum performance throughout, and availability on a budget? That’s what you’ll get if you opt to use global load balancing technology with Google Compute Engine. This scalable option helps you distribute your incoming requests across multiple regions to meet your high-availability requirements.
No, not the restaurant kind, but it does work on a similar theory. With Google Compute Engine, you can create a reservation for VM instances to run in a specific zone. This ensures your project will have specific resources in place for anticipated demand increases. When demand slows, you can delete the reservation and return to your original configuration.
Per-Second Billing & Discount Models
Compute Engine pricing is based on per-second usage of the machine types, persistent disks plus any other other resources you’ve selected to enhance your virtual machines. You pay only for the compute time you use. You can get savings on your usage with several discount models. We already discussed reservations, and when you book one, you can save up to 57% with a commited-use discount that has no upfront costs or instance-type lock-ins. And if you’re consistent Compute Engine users, you can enjoy savings automatically through sustained-use discounts for running this service for a significant portion of your billing month.
Compute Engine takes the guesswork out of optimizing how your virtual machine instances use resources. It provides machine-type recommendations to resize instances for better performance and efficiency, often resulting in monthly cost savings. These recommendations are automatically generated and are based on system metrics gathered over an eight-day period.
This is just a broad overview of what Google Compute Engine is, what it does and how you can use it as part of your Google Cloud infrastructure environment. There are more nuances about this service and also many other Google Cloud services you can use that easily integrate with Google Compute Engine.
We want to be sure you understand all that Google Cloud Platform has to offer, so be sure to check out other blogs in our GCP 101 series. We'll be adding more soon!