An instance is a virtual machine (VM) hosted on Google's infrastructure.
Instances can run Linux and Windows Server images provided by Google, or any customized versions of these images. You can also build and run images of other operating systems.
Google Compute Engine also lets you specify the machine properties of your instances, such as the number of CPUs and the amount of RAM, based on the machine type you use.
Instances and projects
Each instance belongs to a Google Developers 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 and with the rest of the world through the Internet. A network lives in a project, and cannot communicate with other Network objects. 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 Google
Cloud Platform tools, like Google Developers Console, the
gcloud tool, or the
REST API to create and manage instances.
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 Developers Console.