In my last post, I introduced you to the core concepts of Google Compute Engine. Like any other IaaS offering, VMs form the core of the platform. If you are serious about mastering GCE, you should focus on learning everything about Virtual Machines, which are also called Instances.
To launch a VM, you need to make the following choices:
• Region & Zone
• Machine Type
• Boot Source
• OS Type
When you use the Google Developer Console, you will find the screen similar to the following –
Region & Zone – Google Compute Engine allows you to choose the region and zone where certain resources live, giving you control over where your data is stored and used. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) resources are hosted in multiple locations world-wide. These locations are composed of regions and zones within those regions. Regions are the geographic locations where GCP resources are hosted. As on date, GCP is available in US-Central1, Europe-West1 and Asia-East1. Each region is further divided into isolated facilities called zones. Zones in a region provide isolation for many types of infrastructure, hardware, and software failures. Every region has at least 2 zones available for the customers. Putting resources in different zones in a region provides isolation for many types of infrastructure, hardware, and software failures. Putting resources in different regions provides an even higher degree of failure independence. When you expand the Zone dropdown list in the Google Developer Console, you will see the available regions and zones:
For example, when you launch an instance in europe-west1, you can choose to launch the instance in either europe-west1-a or europe-west1-b. You could then launch 2 instances that have better up-time and redundancy.
Machine Type – When do you deal with traditional infrastructure, you will assess the power of each server based on its CPU, RAM and storage capacity Later on, the same server can be upgraded to support better CPU, additional memory and storage. On GCE, machine type influences the power of an instance. Machine types determine the physical specifications of the instances running in GCE, such as the amount of memory, virtual cores, and disk storage limits an instance will have. Currently, GCE supports a variety of machine types:
- Standard machine types
- High CPU machine types
- High memory machine types
- Small machine types
Standard machine types are suitable for most of the workloads including web applications, application servers, database servers and backend tasks. High CPU machine types are ideal for compute-intensive tasks that require more virtual cores relative to memory while high memory instances are ideal for tasks that require more memory relative to virtual cores. Small machine types are more cost-effective for running small, non-resource intensive applications than standard, high-memory or high-CPU instance types. You can select the right machine type from the Google Developer Console.
Boot Source – Each instance is backed by a persistent disk that has a bootable root file system. Technically, when you launch an instance, GCE first creates a disk and then attaches that to a VM before booting it up. This disk can come from a variety of sources. If you choose a new disk, that will be a read-write replica of a special disk called image. The boot source can also be an existing disk that was used to boot an instance. Since GCE doesn’t support temporarily stopping and starting the instances, the instance can be deleted while retaining the boot disk. Later on, the same disk can be used to launch a new instance that contains all the configuration of the original instance. Finally, boot source can be pointed to an existing snapshot. A snapshot is a point-in-time backup of a persistent disk. If you want quickly clone a running instance with minimal downtime, you can take a snapshot of the boot disk and use that to launch another identical instance. This is a flexible yet powerful way to launch symmetrical instances in a short span of time. Google Developer Console makes it easy to choose the right option. (The next post discusses the concepts of persistent disks and snapshots in-depth. Stay tuned).
OS Type – If you choose to boot your instance from a new disk, then you have to choose the right image. As discussed above, an image is a persistent disk that contains a bootable operating system and root file system. As on date, GCE supports the following operating systems –
• Debian Linux
• CentOS Linux
• SUSE Enterprise Linux
• Red Hat Enterprise Linux
• Microsoft Windows Server
Debian and CentOS are the generic open source operating systems while SUSE, RHEL and Windows Servers images are considered to be premier operating systems that are charged slightly more than the other open source OS images.
In this post, you learnt about the key parameters required to launch a GCE instance. In the next post, I will introduce persistent disks and snapshots that form one of the key building blocks of GCE.
Preparing for the Microsoft Azure 70-535 Exam
The credibility of Microsoft Azure continues to grow in the first quarter of 2018 with an increasing number of enterprises migrating their workloads, resulting in a jump for Azure from 10% to 13% in market share. Most organizations will find that simply “lifting and shifting” applicatio...
Which AWS Compute Service Do I Need?
With the ever increasing and expanding service catalog being developed by the engineers at AWS, it's easy to get confused when it comes to understanding which AWS Compute service you need and which service you should be using for your deployments. Which service offers me the quickest de...
Which Cloud Computing Platform? Advantages of a Multi-Cloud Strategy
The rivalry is warming up in the cloud space as vendors continue to offer innovative features and reduced pricing. In this post, we will highlight the competition between the three titans of the cloud: Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft’s Azure. Which ...
Compute Fundamentals for AWS: Updated Course
Innovation fuels cloud computing.Compute Fundamentals for AWS: Updated, Improved, and Better than EverCloud Academy happily announces a major update to a popular course: Compute Fundamentals for AWS.David Robinson originally built this course an introduction to AWS's cornerstone comp...
Preemptible Virtual Machines: Cheap Instances From Google Compute Engine
Could you use some serious computing power? Say hello to Google's Preemptible Virtual Machines.One of the nice things about having access to hundreds of thousands of computers is that you get to do cool stuff. Arguably, the fact that, with enough creativity, you can use that access to...
EC2 vs Google Compute Engine: Comparing the Big Players in IaaS
IaaS: EC2 vs Google Compute EngineArguably, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most important cloud computing vertical. Within that, in terms of services and features, AWS enjoys the top position, while Google Cloud Platform is slowly catching up. In this post, we'll discuss th...
EC2 Pricing: Understanding Compute Costs on AWS
Amazon EC2 pricing considerations (& how to save your money)After a first glance at the Amazon EC2 pricing page, you might find absorbing so much information a little intimidating. In this post, we will try to break EC2 pricing down and provide strategies to not only ease the pain...
Learn Google Compute Engine – New Course
After the launch of our first course introducing the Google Cloud Platform, David Clinton is back with a brand new course - Launching a GCE instance. We just launched it, and you can watch it on CloudAcademy.Google is one of the hottest cloud platform, probably the most interesting ...
Deploying a MEAN Stack Onto Google Compute Engine
How to Identity and Access Management works in Google Compute Engine
Google Cloud Platform is gaining momentum, and it seems that Google is warming up to compete with Amazon Web Services. During the last quarters Google has invested heavily on new services and features for both Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine. Like any other cloud computing p...
Load Balancing in Google Compute Engine
Load balancing is an important feature of cloud infrastructure services. With the ability to rapidly launch VMs, it is important to ensure that all the VMs are evenly utilized. Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) is quite popular for its ability to route the traffic across a set of ins...
Overview of Replica Pools in Google Compute Engine
Cloud is all about elasticity. Cloud infrastructure running web-scale applications can shrink and grow dynamically. Batch processing on cloud will have to deal with on-demand instantiation of the machines based on the load.Google Compute Engine is a high performance, next generation Ia...