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How Images and Snapshots Work


Provisioning your first GCE instance
How Images and Snapshots Work

Google Compute Engine is the cornerstone of the Google Cloud Platform. It is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) environment - powered by KVM hypervisors - that allows you to create instances based on default images and custom snapshots, with complete control over network traffic.

This course, crafted by our expert Linux System Administrator David Clinton, will help you get started with Google Compute Engine, either through Google's browser console or their command line interface. By the end of this course you will have everything it takes to master the efficient and effective use of GCE.

Who should take this course

As a beginner-level course, you don't need experience with Google Cloud Platform to benefit from this tutorial. Some basic knowledge of the Linux CLI interface and TCP/IP stack might help you better understand the Networking and the CLI lectures though.

If you need a high-level introduction to the cloud, check out the Introduction to Cloud Computing course. We also have an Introduction to Google Cloud Platform course to offer you broader overview of the whole family of Google services.

If, after going through this course, you'd like to test your knowledge of Google Compute Engine and improve your CloudRank, we've got Quizzes that should serve as a perfect followup.



Hi, and welcome to CloudAcademy.com's video series on getting started with the Google Compute Engine. In this video we'll explore working with images and snapshots, how to use pre-configured disk images to greatly increase the efficiency and scalability associated with launching and deploying your instances.

Google Compute Engine pre-configured images

Google has made available a number of pre-configured optimized images, optimized for cloud computing in this part of the Google system. That is you don't have to build a disk yourself from the operating system up. Google has made many pre-optimized images available. The most popular ones are probably the free distributions of Linux like Debian and CentOS and openSUSE. I bet there are others available including Red Hat and some versions of Windows for certain instance scenarios. The existence of these pre-built images obviously makes building instances a very great deal quicker.

How to create your own Compute Engine Snapshots

Let's launch a new instance. Go into VM Instances, Create an instance. We'll call it instance-1. That's fine. We'll allow HTTP traffic if that will make you happier. We'll select a Machine Type, and we'll select an image, the debian-7 image, let's say. Let's create it. Remove this box. Let's SSH into the instance and set up the instance the way we like it. Let's start with sudo apt-get update.

Now let's customize this instance. Let's say we'll make it into a web server with Apache 2, sudo apt-get install apache 2. Let's exit the shell session. Now let's click on Snapshots and create a new snapshot. We'll call it shapshot-1. That's fine. It's very important to have some descriptions. So let's just write Apache web server as a description of this particular snapshot. Let's drop down the menu select disk.

The only disk associated with our project right now is instance-1 and that's the one we just created which is the one we'd like. Let's make a snapshot of this Apache web server disk. It's done.

Now let's go back to VM Instances and let's create a new instance. We'll call it instance-2. We will select any Machine Type. It doesn't matter. And for the Boot Source rather than a new disk from image, we'll instead select new disk from snapshot. Now we'll drop down the Snapshot menu and snapshot-1, which is our Apache web server, is available. We'll select it.

And when we're ready, we'll create it. What we have done is taking the image of our Debian operating system which we configured as an Apache web server and we will now create a new disk built on that snapshot, which will start off as identical to the instance from which it was taken.

About the Author
David Clinton
Linux SysAdmin
Learning Paths

David taught high school for twenty years, worked as a Linux system administrator for five years, and has been writing since he could hold a crayon between his fingers. His childhood bedroom wall has since been repainted.

Having worked directly with all kinds of technology, David derives great pleasure from completing projects that draw on as many tools from his toolkit as possible.

Besides being a Linux system administrator with a strong focus on virtualization and security tools, David writes technical documentation and user guides, and creates technology training videos.

His favorite technology tool is the one that should be just about ready for release tomorrow. Or Thursday.