Images

Google Compute Engine uses operating system images to create the root persistent disks for your instances. You specify an image when you create an instance. Images contain a boot loader, an operating system, and a root file system. Images can be either public or private.

Images can be grouped into image families, which always point to the most recent version of their operating system image and make it easier to select an image when you create an instance.

Public images

Compute Engine offers many preconfigured public images that have compatible Linux and Windows operating systems. To see the full list of public images with their image IDs, go to the Images page in the console.

Go to the Images page

Only some images receive support from the Compute Engine team. You can get support for images from the resource listed under the Support channel column.

Compute Engine provides public images with 64 bit versions of the following operating systems:

Operating system Support channel Image family Image project Notes Start an instance
CentOS Compute Engine centos-7
centos-6
centos-cloud Start
CoreOS CoreOS Support coreos-stable
coreos-beta
coreos-alpha
coreos-cloud Start
Debian Compute Engine debian-8 debian-cloud Start
openSUSE openSUSE community N/A opensuse-cloud Start
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Compute Engine rhel-7
rhel-6
rhel-cloud Premium image Start
SUSE Compute Engine N/A suse-cloud Premium image Start
Ubuntu Compute Engine ubuntu-1604-lts
ubuntu-1404-lts
ubuntu-1204-lts
ubuntu-os-cloud Start
Windows Server Compute Engine windows-2012-r2
windows-2008-r2
windows-cloud Premium image Start
SQL Server on Windows Server Compute Engine sql-std-2016-win-2012-r2
sql-std-2014-win-2012-r2
sql-std-2012-win-2012-r2
sql-web-2016-win-2012-r2
sql-web-2014-win-2012-r2
sql-web-2012-win-2012-r2
sql-exp-2016-win-2012-r2
windows-sql-cloud Premium image Start

Use these operating system images to create and start instances.

Image families

Image families simplify the process of managing images in your project by grouping related images together and making it easy to roll forward and roll back between specific image versions. An image family always points to the latest version of an image that is not deprecated. Most public images are grouped into an image families. For example, the debian-8 image family in the debian-cloud project always points to the most recent Debian 8 image.

You can add your own images to an image family when you create a private image. The image family points to the most recent image that you added to that family. Because the image family never points to a deprecated image, rolling the image family back to a previous image version is as simple as deprecating the most recent image in that family. See Setting image versions in an image family.

Operating system details

Some operating system images are customized specifically to run on Compute Engine, and have notable differences from the standard images that come directly from the operating system vendor. You can get more details about these differences in the respective sections below.

CentOS


CentOS

CentOS is a free operating system platform that is derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Compute Engine supports and offers CentOS 7 and CentOS 6 images. For full release notes, see the CentOS 7 documentation and the CentOS 6 documentation.

Start an instance with a CentOS public image

Compute Engine offers the latest point release for CentOS. If you run a CentOS instance started from an older point release, it will automatically update to the most recent point release. This update might require a reboot to take full effect.

Automatic updates

Google Compute Engine does not automatically update the operating system or the software on your instances. However, the CentOS package manager is preconfigured by the operating system vendor to automatically apply security patches and system upgrades on your CentOS instance.

These automatic updates from the operating system vendor do not upgrade instances between major versions of the operating system. The updates apply system upgrades only for minor versions. CentOS instances can automatically update their installed packages in addition to the security patches and system upgrades.

Notable differences from standard CentOS images

Google Compute Engine-provided CentOS images contain the following differences from standard CentOS images:

  • All packages are updated to the date of the image and the image will reflect the latest CentOS point release.
  • Google Cloud repositories are enabled to install packages from the Linux Guest Environment for Google Compute Engine.
  • Google CloudSDK is installed.
  • IPv6 is disabled as it is not yet supported on Compute Engine.
  • The eth0 MTU is set to 1460.
  • DHCP is set to retry every 10 seconds instead of 5 minutes.
  • The DHCP client is set to persistent mode instead of oneshot.
  • The hostname is set via a DHCP exit hook and will be re-configured to match the instance name anytime the network is brought up.
  • The boot timeout is set to 0 to force fast boots as a grub config is not accessible.
  • Python 2.7 SCL is installed on EL6 in addition to the normal Python 2.6 package.
  • The SSH server is installed and enabled.
  • The SSH server configuration is set to disable password authentication, ServerAliveInterval and ClientAliveInterval are set to 7 minutes to prevent SSH disconnections, and root login is disabled via SSH.
  • /etc/udev/rules.d/75-persistent-net-generator.rules is disabled and /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules is removed to prevent MAC addresses from persisting.
  • The NTP server is set to use the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • Automatic updates are enabled via yum-cron.
  • All traffic is allowed through the firewall by default. The firewall remains enabled and can be configured through normal CentOS methods.
  • rsyslog is configured to send daemon and kernel messages to the console.

Support

If you run into issues running the CentOS images offered by Google, file a report or post your question to the gce-discussion forum.

If you run into issues trying to run another version of CentOS that is not provided by Google, contact the CentOS community for support.

CoreOS


CoreOS

CoreOS is a new distribution that provide features needed to run modern infrastructure stacks. CoreOS uses Linux containers to manage your services at a higher level of abstraction. Compute Engine provides CoreOS images built and supported by CoreOS.

Learn how to create an instance with a CoreOS public image

Support

For detailed instructions on using CoreOS images, see Running CoreOS on Google Compute Engine.

If you run into issues running these CoreOS images, please contact the coreos forum for support.

Debian


Debian

Debian is a free operating system offered by the Debian community. Compute Engine offers and supports the following Debian images:

  • Debian 8 Jessie

Start an instance with a Debian public image

Automatic updates for image version v20160606 and newer

Google Compute Engine does not automatically update the operating system or the software on your instances. However, unattended-upgrades tool is installed and configured to automatically update software from the Debian security repository.

The security repository sometimes includes kernel patches, but these patches do not take effect until you restart your instance. Google Compute Engine does not automatically reboot running instances, so you must restart your instances manually to use the updated kernel. The unattended-upgrades tool does provide a mechanism to automatically reboot when a critical security update requires it.

Automatic updates from Debian security do not upgrade instances between major versions of the operating system.

Notable differences from standard Debian images

Google Compute Engine-provided Debian images contain the following differences from standard Debian images:

  • All packages are updated to the date of the image and the image will reflect the latest Debian point release.
  • The Apt sources are set to use the Debian mirror redirector.
  • Google Cloud repositories are enabled to install packages from the Linux Guest Environment for Google Compute Engine.
  • IPv6 is disabled as it is not yet supported on Compute Engine.
  • The eth0 MTU is set to 1460.
  • DHCP is set to retry every 10 seconds instead of 5 minutes.
  • The hostname is set via a DHCP exit hook and will be re-configured to match the instance name anytime the network is brought up.
  • The boot timeout is set to 0 to force fast boots as a grub config is not accessible.
  • OpenSSH is installed and enabled.
  • Serial console logging is enabled via the kernel command line in grub.
  • The default block scheduler is changed to noop via grub config to improve Compute Engine disk performance.
  • The SSH server configuration is set to disable password authentication.
  • /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules is removed to prevent MAC addresses from persisting.
  • The NTP server is set to use the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • The cloud-utils package is installed from the jessie-backports repository to grow the root disk partition up to 2TB.
  • The cloud-initramfs-growroot package is installed to perform root disk expansion during boot.
  • The python-crcmod package is installed from the jessie-backports repository to enable a compiled version of crcmod for python which is needed for the Google Cloud Storage CLI (gsutil) to handle composite objects.
  • Unattended-upgrades is installed and configured to download and install Debian security updates daily. This can be configured or disabled by changing the values in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades and /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/02periodic.

Support

If you run into issues running the Debian images offered by Google, file a report or post your question to the gce-discussion forum.

If you run into issues trying to run another version of Debian that isn't provided by Google, send your question to the Debian community.

openSUSE


openSUSE

openSUSE is a free Linux-based operating system sponsored by SUSE. Compute Engine offers openSUSE 13.2 and Leap 42 images built by SUSE.

Learn how to create an instance with an openSUSE public image

Support

If you run into issues running these openSUSE images, please contact the openSUSE community for support.

RHEL


Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is an open-source Linux operating system that provides both server and desktop operating systems. For full release notes, see the RHEL 7 documentation and the RHEL 6 documentation.

Start an instance with a RHEL public image

Compute Engine offers the latest point release for RHEL. If you run a RHEL instance started from an older point release, it will automatically upgrade to the most recent point release. This update may require a reboot to take full effect.

Automatic updates

Google Compute Engine does not automatically update the operating system or the software on your instances. However, the RHEL package manager is preconfigured by the operating system vendor to automatically apply security patches and system upgrades on your RHEL instance.

These automatic updates from the operating system vendor do not upgrade instances between major versions of the operating system. The updates apply system upgrades only for minor versions. RHEL instances can automatically update their installed packages in addition to the security patches and system upgrades.

Red Hat Cloud Access: Bring your own RHEL subscription

As an added benefit for subscribers of Red Hat Enterprise products, Red Hat Cloud Access enables enterprise customers to migrate their current subscriptions for use on Google Compute Engine. This allows you to use different version of RHEL than is currently offered by Google on your Compute Engine instances, or to migrate your own RHEL image to Compute Engine. For more information, see the Red Hat Cloud Access page.

Support

If you have paid support with Google Cloud Platform, please file a report through one of the support channels. If you do not have paid support, please post to the gce-discussion group.

If you are already a subscriber to Red Hat Cloud Access, contact your Red Hat representative for information on how to migrate your subscription to Compute Engine.

Notable differences from standard RHEL and CentOS images

Google Compute Engine-provided RHEL images contain the following differences from standard RHEL images:

  • All packages are updated to the date of the image and the image will reflect the latest RHEL point release.
  • Google Cloud repositories are enabled to install packages from the Linux Guest Environment for Google Compute Engine.
  • Google CloudSDK is installed.
  • IPv6 is disabled as it is not yet supported on Compute Engine.
  • The eth0 MTU is set to 1460.
  • DHCP is set to retry every 10 seconds instead of 5 minutes.
  • The DHCP client is set to persistent mode instead of oneshot.
  • The hostname is set via a DHCP exit hook and will be re-configured to match the instance name anytime the network is brought up.
  • The boot timeout is set to 0 to force fast boots as a grub config is not accessible.
  • Python 2.7 SCL is installed on EL6 in addition to the normal Python 2.6 package.
  • The SSH server is installed and enabled.
  • The SSH server configuration is set to disable password authentication, ServerAliveInterval and ClientAliveInterval are set to 7 minutes to prevent SSH disconnections, and root login is disabled via SSH.
  • /etc/udev/rules.d/75-persistent-net-generator.rules is disabled and /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules is removed to prevent MAC addresses from persisting.
  • The NTP server is set to use the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • Automatic updates are enabled via yum-cron.
  • All traffic is allowed through the firewall by default. The firewall remains enabled and can be configured through normal RHEL methods.
  • rsyslog is configured to send daemon and kernel messages to the console.
  • The Red Hat Update Infrastructure (RHUI) update servers are hosted on Compute Engine.

SUSE


SUSE

SLES is a Linux enterprise operating system that is backed by Novell. Compute Engine offers SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12 images for your virtual machine instances. These images have a similar configuration to the Google-provided Debian and CentOS images, and comes pre-installed with the Compute Engine image packages

Start an instance with a SUSE public image

Support

If you have paid support with Google Cloud Platform, please file a report through one of the support channels. If you do not have paid support, please post to the gce-discussion group.

Notable differences from standard SUSE images

Compute Engine-provided SUSE images differ from standard SUSE images in the following ways:

Ubuntu


Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free operating system developed and supported by Canonical. Compute Engine offers the following Ubuntu LTS and regular releases:

Start an instance with an Ubuntu public image

Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) images receive bug fixes and security updates for five years after their release date. LTS images can run on your instances for several years without having to upgrade to a newer release.

Regular (non LTS) Ubuntu images are supported for 9 months from their release date. To continue to use a regular Ubuntu image, you will have to upgrade to the next regular Ubuntu release or LTS release after the support cycle ends to receive fixes and updates. Compute Engine recommends using Ubuntu LTS images unless you require features or software packages that are not yet included in an LTS release. If your instances run Ubuntu releases that are no longer supported, upgrade to a supported Ubuntu release.

Automatic updates

Google Compute Engine does not automatically update the operating system or the software on your instances. However, the Ubuntu package manager is preconfigured by the operating system vendor to automatically apply security patches and system upgrades on your Ubuntu instance.

These automatic updates from the operating system vendor do not upgrade instances between major versions of the operating system. The updates apply system upgrades only for minor versions.

Support

If you run into issues using the Ubuntu images offered by Google, you can post a question to the gce-discussion forum as well as get help from the Ubuntu community.

Windows Server


Windows Server

Windows Server is an operating system developed and supported by Microsoft.

Windows Server images are similar to the standard Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems, but they have a few notable changes described below.

Start an instance with a Windows public image

Automatic updates

Google Compute Engine does not automatically update the operating system or the software on your instances. However, the Windows Update service automatically updates the Windows operating system when security updates are available. You can configure automatic updates to run on Windows instances only when you need them.

Disabling the Windows agent features

If you have Windows instances with image versions v20160112 and later, or an updated Windows agent version 3.2.1.0 and later, you can disable several agent features with the following instance metadata keys:

  • Set disable-agent-updates to true in instance metadata to disable the automatic agent update mechanism.
  • Set disable-account-manager to true in instance metadata to disable the account manager.
  • Set disable-address-manager to true in instance metadata to disable the address manager.

For complete information about how to run instances that use Windows images, see the Windows Instances documentation.

Differences vs baseline Windows Server

  • The Windows agent is installed and configured as a service. Account manager and address manager functionality can be disabled.
  • Google Compute Engine metadata and sysyprep scripts are installed and added to the default path.
  • The Windows agent has an auto update mechanism to receive future updates on images after v20150112. This can be disabled.
  • Startup and shutdown scripts are set to run on startup and shutdown.
  • Google Compute Engine Drivers are installed and are needed to boot Windows on Compute Engine.
  • All Windows updates up to the date of the image are installed and Windows updates are set to automatically update.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 has .Net 4.6.1 installed as well as WMF 4.0, which includes PowerShell 4.0.
  • BGInfo is installed and enabled to show host information on the desktop. In Windows Server 2012 R2, desktop pictures do not show by default.
  • Google CloudSDK is installed with its own Python 2.7 environment. Google CloudSDK respects project service accounts, instance scopes, and works in PowerShell and CMD.
  • The RealTimeIsUniversal registry key is set. The BIOS is a UTC clock, not LocalTime.
  • The time zone is set to GMT (Greenwich Standard Time), which is equivalent to UTC time.
  • NTP is set to sync to the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • The Compute Engine metadata server is added to the hosts file.
  • The Windows firewall is opened to allow communication to and from the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • TCP KeepAliveTime is set to 5 minutes.
  • IPv6 is disabled as it is not yet supported on Compute Engine.
  • Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) is disabled.
  • Power settings are changed to never turn off the monitor.
  • The BootStatusPolicy property is set to ignore all boot failures.
  • The EnableQueryAccessAlignment property is enabled for the vioscsi driver.
  • A KMS client key is installed and the KMS client is set to activate via the Compute Engine KMS servers.
  • Remote Desktop (RDP) is enabled and and the associated Windows firewall ports opened.
  • The Administrator account is disabled.
  • The netkvm adapter is set to use DHCP.
  • The netkvm adapter's MTU is set to 1430.
  • A persistent route is added to the netkvm adapter for the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • User passwords must be at least eight characters long.
  • The LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy property is enabled to grant access to administrative file shares.

Support

If you run into issues using the Windows images offered by Google, you can post a question to the gce-discussion.

SQL Server


SQL Server

SQL Server is a relational database management system developed and supported by Microsoft.

SQL Server images are similar to the standard Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system images, but they include SQL Server preinstalled and have a few notable changes described below.

For more information about images with SQL Server preinstalled, see the SQL Server documentation.

Start an instance with a Windows public image

Automatic updates

Google Compute Engine does not automatically update the operating system or the software on your instances. However, the Windows Update service automatically updates the Windows operating system when security updates are available. You can configure automatic updates to run on Windows instances only when you need them.

Disabling the Windows agent features

If you have Windows instances with image versions v20160112 and later, or an updated Windows agent version 3.2.1.0 and later, you can disable several agent features with the following instance metadata keys:

  • Set disable-agent-updates to true in instance metadata to disable the automatic agent update mechanism.
  • Set disable-account-manager to true in instance metadata to disable the account manager.
  • Set disable-address-manager to true in instance metadata to disable the address manager.

For complete information about how to run instances that use Windows images, see the Windows Instances documentation.

Differences vs baseline Windows Server

  • The Windows agent is installed and configured as a service. Account manager and address manager functionality can be disabled.
  • Google Compute Engine metadata and sysyprep scripts are installed and added to the default path.
  • The Windows agent has an auto update mechanism to receive future updates on images after v20150112. This can be disabled.
  • Startup and shutdown scripts are set to run on startup and shutdown.
  • Google Compute Engine Drivers are installed and are needed to boot Windows on Compute Engine.
  • All Windows updates up to the date of the image are installed and Windows updates are set to automatically update.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 has .Net 4.6.1 installed as well as WMF 4.0, which includes PowerShell 4.0.
  • BGInfo is installed and enabled to show host information on the desktop. In Windows Server 2012 R2, desktop pictures do not show by default.
  • Google CloudSDK is installed with its own Python 2.7 environment. Google CloudSDK respects project service accounts, instance scopes, and works in PowerShell and CMD.
  • The RealTimeIsUniversal registry key is set. The BIOS is a UTC clock, not LocalTime.
  • The time zone is set to GMT (Greenwich Standard Time), which is equivalent to UTC time.
  • NTP is set to sync to the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • The Compute Engine metadata server is added to the hosts file.
  • The Windows firewall is opened to allow communication to and from the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • TCP KeepAliveTime is set to 5 minutes.
  • IPv6 is disabled as it is not yet supported on Compute Engine.
  • Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) is disabled.
  • Power settings are changed to never turn off the monitor.
  • The BootStatusPolicy property is set to ignore all boot failures.
  • The EnableQueryAccessAlignment property is enabled for the vioscsi driver.
  • A KMS client key is installed and the KMS client is set to activate via the Compute Engine KMS servers.
  • Remote Desktop (RDP) is enabled and and the associated Windows firewall ports opened.
  • The Administrator account is disabled.
  • The netkvm adapter is set to use DHCP.
  • The netkvm adapter's MTU is set to 1430.
  • A persistent route is added to the netkvm adapter for the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • User passwords must be at least eight characters long.
  • The LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy property is enabled to grant access to administrative file shares.

Support

If you run into issues using the SQL Server images offered by Google, you can post a question to the gce-discussion.

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