Best practices for Windows Server VMs

You can apply several best practices to optimize Compute Engine instances that run Microsoft Windows Server. This article describes how you can utilize other products available on Google Cloud and to ensure your Windows instances are performing optimally in terms of performance, security, redundancy and availability. For further information on configuration and setup of Windows instances, see Windows Workloads. For Microsoft SQL instances, refer to Best Practices for SQL Server.

General Compute Engine best practices


Backup & Recovery

  • Routinely review and verify your backup and recovery strategy.
  • Enable regular Persistent Disk Snapshots for a quick recovery from a previous backup if there is a VM failure.
    • Only enable VSS snapshots on data volumes and where the application is VSS compatible. Avoid creating VSS snapshots on the operating system disk because the VSS service marks this disk as read-only.

Patch Management

  • Confirm your Windows operating system is updated to the latest version and all system and quality updates (also referred to as "cumulative updates" or "cumulative quality updates") are installed.
  • Make use of automatic Windows Update on your instance. Microsoft releases patches every second Tuesday of each month at minimum. You should have a strategy for applying these updates to help safeguard the system from known bugs and/or vulnerabilities. If automatic restarts are not an option, consider creating patch jobs by using VM Manager, which can schedule updates and restart your instances at an appropriate time.

Logging and Monitoring

  • When you use Microsoft software, you are responsible for understanding and complying with any licensing agreements that you might have with Microsoft. To understand the requirements and options for licensing, refer to the Microsoft Licenses documentation.
  • Keep the guest environment updated in line with your Windows Update strategy. Regularly updating the guest environment of your Windows instance will ensure you are running the latest and most stable version of all necessary Google Cloud agents and drivers.