Google Cloud Platform
Compute Engine

Virtual Machine (VM) Instances

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 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 gcloud command-line 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.

Accessing instances

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.

Getting Started

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.

Getting Started Guide