Google Compute Engine Drops Prices, Improves Migration, Maintenance

Google bolsters its Google Compute Engine services as it moves to general availability for all customers.

Google is now offering its Google Compute Engine services to all customers as part of a wider "general availability" offering that features lower prices and easier migration and maintenance services for users. Google Compute Engine was previously available in preview mode to some customers as its development continued and was refined.

"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," wrote Ari Balogh, a Google vice president, in a Dec. 2 post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. "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."

Google Compute Engine (GCE) is part of the Google Cloud Platform, which allows developers to run applications with managed and unmanaged services on Google's infrastructure. The move from preview mode to general availability means that the services are now at a point where they are ready for any and all users, wrote Balogh. "We've been working to improve the developer experience across our services to meet the standards our own engineers would expect here at Google."

In preview mode, GCE supported two of the most popular Linux distributions, Debian and CentOS, which were customized with a Google-built kernel, wrote Balogh. Now GCE is expanding its support for other Linux distributions to make it easier to use for customers. "Now you can 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. We're also announcing support for SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (in Limited Preview) and FreeBSD."

Also new to the GA release is an easier maintenance infrastructure for users, including "transparent maintenance that combines software and data center innovations with live migration technology to perform proactive maintenance while your virtual machines keep running," wrote Balogh. "You now get all the benefits of regular updates and proactive maintenance without the downtime and reboots typically required. Furthermore, in the event of a failure, we automatically restart your VMs and get them back online in minutes. We've already rolled out this feature to our U.S. zones, with others to follow in the coming months."

As part of the GA announcement, Google is also dropping the prices of all standard Compute Engine instances by 10 percent for all users, according to Balogh. In addition, Google has begun a limited preview of services that will for the first time allow developers to access more processor cores at once, using three new instance types that offer up to 16 cores and 104 gigabytes of RAM. "Developers have asked for instances with even greater computational power and memory for applications that range from silicon simulation to running high-scale NoSQL databases," wrote Balogh.

In a related move, Google is making its Persistent Disk data storage services cheaper, faster and more flexible for users of GCE. "Today we're lowering the price of Persistent Disk by 60 percent per Gigabyte and dropping I/O charges so that you get a predictable, low price for your block storage device," wrote Balogh.

Under the new Persistent Disk pricing model, storage will now cost 4 cents per GB per month, down from 10 cents per GB per month, while I/O fees that previously cost 10 cents per million I/Os per month are now included in the storage prices, according to Google.