Compute Engine overview

Compute Engine is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) product that offers self-managed virtual machine (VM) instances and bare metal instances. Compute Engine offers VMs with a KVM hypervisor, operating systems for both Linux and Windows, local and durable storage options, and a REST-based API for configuration and control.

Here are some of the benefits of using Compute Engine:

  • Extensibility: Compute Engine integrates with Google Cloud technologies such as Cloud Storage, Google Kubernetes Engine, and BigQuery, to extend beyond the basic computational capability to create more complex and sophisticated applications.
  • Scalability: Scale the number of compute resources as needed without having to manage your own infrastructure. This is useful for businesses that experience sudden increases in traffic, because you can quickly add more instances to handle the increase and remove the instances after they are no longer needed.
  • Reliability: Google's infrastructure is highly reliable, with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Compute Engine offers a variety of pricing options to fit your budget. Also, you only pay for the resources that you use, and there are no up-front costs.

What Compute Engine provides

Compute Engine provides flexibility so that you can run a wide-range of applications and workloads that support your needs. From batch processing to webserving or high performance computing you can configure Compute Engine to meet your needs.

Location selection

Google offers worldwide regions for you to deploy Compute Engine resources. You can choose a region that best fits the requirements of your workload:

  • Region-specific restrictions
  • User latency by region
  • Latency requirements of your application
  • Amount of control over latency
  • Balance between low latency and simplicity

For more information about regions and zones, see About regions and zones.

Compute Engine machine types

Compute Engine provides a comprehensive set of machine families, each containing machine types to choose from when you create a compute instance. Each machine family is comprised of machine series and predefined machine types within each series.

Compute Engine offers general-purpose, compute-optimized, memory-optimized, and accelerator-optimized machine families. If a preconfigured, general-purpose machine type doesn't meet your needs, you can create a custom machine type for some of the machine series.

For more information, see the Machine families resource guide.

Operating systems

Compute Engine provides many preconfigured public operating system images for both Linux and Windows. Most public images are provided for no additional cost, but there are some premium images for which you are billed. You are not billed for importing custom images, but you will incur an image storage charge while you keep the custom image in your project.

Storage options

You can choose from several block storage options, including Persistent Disk, Google Cloud Hyperdisk, and Local SSD:

  • Persistent Disk: High-performance and redundant network storage. Each volume is striped across hundreds of physical disks.
  • Hyperdisk: The fastest redundant network storage for Compute Engine, with configurable performance and volumes that can be resized dynamically. Each volume is striped across hundreds of physical disks
  • Local SSDs: Physical drives that are attached directly to the same server as a VM. They offer better performance, but are are not durable. If the instance is shut down, the Local SSD disks are deleted.

Each option has unique price and performance. For cost comparisons, see disk pricing. For more information about disk types, see Storage options.

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