An instance is a virtual machine (VM) hosted on Google's infrastructure.
Google Compute Engine also lets you choose the machine properties of your instances, such as the number of virtual CPUs and the amount of memory, using a set of predefined machine types or by creating your own custom machine type.
Instances and projects
Each instance belongs to a Google Cloud Platform Console project and a project contains one or more instances. When you create an instance, you provide the project, zone, operating system, and machine type of that instance. When you delete an instance, it is removed from the project.
Instances and networks
Instances communicate with other instances in the same network through a local area network. Instances communicate with the rest of the world through the Internet. A network lives in a project and is isolated from other networks in the project. A project can have up to five different networks. See Networking and Firewalls for more information about networks and firewall rules.
Tools to manage virtual machine instances
To create and manage virtual machine instances, you can use tools such as
Google Cloud Platform Console, the
tool, or the REST API. To perform advanced
configuration, connect to the instance using Secure Shell (SSH) or Remote
Desktop Protocol (RDP) for Windows instances.
By default, Linux instances support SSH capability for the instance creator,
and optionally for other users. Windows instances support RDP connections after
you generate a Windows username and password.
As an instance creator, you have full root privileges on instances you created. An instance administrator can also add system users using standard Linux commands or Windows User Account management.
If you are new to Google Compute Engine, follow the Getting Started Guide to learn how to create a virtual machine instance using the Cloud Platform Console.