Google has announced that its Google Compute Engine is now Generally Available, meaning it is open to all developers who want to use the virtual machine technology.
A rival to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Google Compute Engine (GCE) lets you run Virtual Linux Servers that are, according to Ari Balogh in a post on the Google Developers Blog:
“performant, scalable, reliable, and offer industry-leading security features like encryption of data at rest.”
The GA version adds new features and lower prices for persistent disks and popular compute instances.
The first improvement comes in the form of support for more operating systems. Until now, GCE supported the Debian and Centos Linux distributions customized with a Google-built kernel.
The updated version lets you run any out-of-the-box Linux distribution (including SELinux and CoreOS) as well as any kernel or software you like, including Docker, FOG, xfs and aufs.
Google has also announced support for SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (in Limited Preview) and FreeBSD.
The next improvement to the GA release is the ability to carry out ‘transparent maintenance’, meaning your virtual machines keep running while software and data center updates are installed and maintenance is carried out. If a failure occurs, Google automatically restarts your VMs and gets them back online “in minutes”. The blog post says this feature has already been rolled out to Google’s US zones, with others to follow in the coming months.
If you’re using GCE for applications that need lots of computational power and memory, you’ll now be able to use 16-core instances, with three new instance types in Limited Preview with up to 16 cores and 104 gigabytes of RAM.
Storage is another area where improvements have been made, with faster, cheaper Persistent Disks. The price of Persistent Disk storage has been lowered by 60 percent per Gigabyte, and I/O charges have been dropped for block storage devices. The price has also been lowered by 10 percent on the most popular standard Compute Engine instances.
This video shows how to set up and carry out a ten minute test drive of GCE: