Google Opens Up Access to Compute Engine Cloud Service

The company also reduced the pricing for its IaaS offering as it ramps up the competition against Amazon Web Services and others.

Google is opening up access to its Google Compute Engine cloud computing environment, letting customers of its Gold Support package take advantage of the infrastructure as a service.

Google officials also are adding several upgrades to the Compute Engine, which the search giant introduced in June 2012 as a competitor to Amazon Web Services' (AWS) cloud computing service and other similar offerings from the likes of Rackspace and Savvis.

In addition, Google is reducing the pricing for Compute Engine by 4 percent.

In an April 4 post on the Google Developers Blog, Marc Cohen, a developer programs engineer on the Google App Engine blog, said response to the Compute Engine over the past nine months has been positive.

"We're happy to hear that, because one of our main goals in building Compute Engine is to enable a new generation of applications with direct access to the capabilities of Google's vast computing infrastructure," Cohen wrote.

The infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is becoming increasingly competitive, with a growing number of vendors opening up their data center resources to organizations looking to run their workloads on rented infrastructures. AWS is among the largest and best-known, though other top-tier vendors are looking to make inroads in to the space. Most recently, Pivotal—a company that was spun out of EMC and VMware—became official April 1, though its formal introduction is scheduled for April 29.

Former VMware CEO Paul Maritz is running Pivotal, whose infrastructure will surely include technology from both EMC—a major storage player—and virtualization pioneer VMware. Maritz sent a memo to Pivotal employees, noting how the aim is to "enable customers to build a new class of applications, leveraging big and fast data, and do all of this with the power of cloud independence."

When they introduced the Compute Engine last year, Google officials said they had similar goals of allowing businesses to run their applications across the search giant's massive infrastructure. It also initially was released in limited preview.

Now Google is extending it to Gold Support package customers, who pay $400 a month for the package.

The enhancements to the Compute Engine include an improved management consol. The Google Cloud Console enables organizations to administer all their Google Cloud Platform services through a single unified interface.

In addition, users now have the option of booting from persistent disks that are mounted as the root file system, get persistent disk snapshots, check and restore contents of network resident persistent disks on demand, and attach and detach persistent disks from running instances.

Google also introduced five new instance type families and 16 new instance types, and said there are two new supported zones in Europe, which will help lower latency and increase performance for European users. An enhancement to Google's qcutil command line tool makes it easier to migrate virtual machines from one to another.