Compute Engine

What is Google Compute Engine?

Google Compute Engine is a service that provides virtual machines that run on Google infrastructure. Google Compute Engine offers scale, performance, and value that allows you to easily launch large compute clusters on Google's infrastructure. There are no upfront investments and you can run thousands of virtual CPUs on a system that has been designed from the ground up to be fast, and to offer strong consistency of performance.

Google Compute Engine offers many capabilities, including:

  • Create virtual machines with a variety of configurations
  • Maintain and store data in block storage
    • From a VM image, mount persistent block storage (persistent disk) that maintains state beyond the life cycle of the VM instance. Data on persistent disks are retained even if your virtual machine instance suffers a failure or is taken offline. Persistent disk data is also replicated for additional redundancy.
    • Attach non-persistent local SSD storage for extreme low latency, high IOPS, and high throughput. Local SSD is optimal for scratch data or large, high-performance databases.
  • Manage network access to your virtual machines
    • Use your virtual machines alone or connected together to form a compute cluster
    • Connect your machines to the Internet with a flexible networking solution that offers static and ephemeral IPv4 addresses for your instances.
    • Use the built-in load balancing service to distribute heavy workloads across many virtual machines.
    • Automatically scale your virtual machines in times of heavy or low traffic.
    • Use an easily configurable firewall to set up network access to your instances.
    • Create an internal network of virtual machines or set up access to external traffic by setting up customizable firewall rules.
    • Connect your VM instances to each other and to the Internet with our fully encapsulated layer 3 network. Our network offers strong isolation to help protect your instances from undesired access.
    • Locate other instances in your project using DNS lookup of VM names.
  • Use a variety of tools and OAuth 2.0 authentication to manage your virtual machines
    • Access your virtual machine instances through the Compute Engine console, RESTful API, or through a simple command line tool.
    • Take advantage of OAuth 2.0 to authenticate to the RESTful API to create and delete virtual machine instances, disks, and other resources. Also, leverage OAuth 2.0 to seamlessly integrate with other Google Cloud services such as Google Cloud Storage.
    • Use service account identities to authenticate your instances to other services, and remove the need to push keys into VM instances.

Accessing Google Compute Engine

The most common way to manage Google Compute Engine resources is using the command-line tool or the Compute Engine console. However, you can also use the REST API documented in the Google Compute Engine API section. For more information, see our API Prerequisites documentation to get started with the API.

Note: Google Compute Engine does not guarantee 100% uptime, so you should take steps to make sure that your service can easily regenerate the state on an instance should an unexpected failure occur. If you do not, your service will be adversely affected if your instances fall offline. For more information, see tips on designing robust systems.

Over time, the specifications and usage of Google Compute Engine may change.

Get Started

Here is how we suggest you get started:

  1. Try the Quickstart or the Compute Engine console to start trying out the service.
  2. Read the Overview page, and the child topics about the components of a virtual machine.
  3. Read the API prerequisites to learn how to start using the API.