Windows on Compute Engine

You can run your Windows applications on Google Compute Engine and take advantage of many benefits available to virtual machine instances such as reliable storage options, the speed of the Google network, and Autoscaling.

Compute Engine provides several tools to help bring your Windows applications and services to the cloud:

To get started, try the Windows quickstart, create a Windows Server instance, or create an instance with SQL Server preinstalled.

Windows quickstart

If you are new to Google Compute Engine, follow the Windows quickstart to learn how to create Windows virtual machine instances using the Cloud Platform Console. Create an instance with a Windows Server operating system, use Windows PowerShell to install Internet Information Services (IIS), and host a simple web page.

Windows quickstart

Windows Server

Windows Server is a server operating system from Microsoft. You can create instances with Windows Server images to run applications that are specific to Windows. Compute Engine offers three versions of Windows Server:

Optionally, Compute Engine offers SQL Server images if you need instances that have Windows Server with SQL Server preinstalled.

For a full list of the available Windows Server images, see the public images list.

Pricing for Windows Server images

When you create a Windows Server instance, you pay by the minute for the use of the Windows Server license. The cost for the license depends on the number of vCPUs in the machine type of the instance.

Windows Server images are premium resources that incur additional fees. See Windows Server pricing for more information about the price of Windows Server images.

Licensing for Windows Server images

Google Compute Engine handles licensing for Windows Server for you when you create and start Windows instances. These images handle licensing for Windows Server and enable you to adopt a pay as you go model for your Windows Server where you pay for Windows Server only when you need it with billing by the minute.

You cannot migrate your existing Windows Server licenses to Compute Engine, but you can bring your existing Microsoft Application Licenses to your Windows Server instances to run specific applications. However, you must continue to manage those licenses yourself.

SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a database system that runs on Windows Server. You can use SQL Server on Compute Engine as part of the backend for your applications, as a flexible development and test environment, or in addition to your on-prem systems for backup and disaster recovery.

Compute Engine provides images with Microsoft SQL Server preinstalled on Windows Server. For these SQL Server images, Compute Engine manages the license for both Windows Server and SQL Server, and includes the cost in your monthly bill. Create instances with SQL Server and scale to large multi-node configurations when you need them.

Compute Engine stores your data on durable persistent disks with automatic redundancy and automatic encryption at rest. Use these persistent disks to store your SQL Server data without having to worry about the durability or security of your data. For additional performance, create your instances with a local SSD as a cache that provides additional IOPS and performance for SQL Server queries.

You can create Compute Engine instances that run SQL Server through one of the following options:

Compute Engine offers images with the following editions of SQL Server:

  • SQL Server 2016 Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2014 Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2012 Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2016 Standard
  • SQL Server 2014 Standard
  • SQL Server 2012 Standard
  • SQL Server 2016 Web
  • SQL Server 2014 Web
  • SQL Server 2012 Web
  • SQL Server 2016 Express

For a full list of the available image families that include SQL Server preinstalled, see the Images page.

Pricing for SQL Server images

When you create an instance that includes SQL Server, you pay by the minute for the SQL Server license in addition to the Compute Engine instance resources and the Windows Server license. The cost of your SQL Server instances includes the following items:

For full details on the pricing for Windows Server images that include SQL Server preinstalled, see the SQL Server pricing page.

Machine type requirements for SQL Server images

SQL Server Standard

You can run SQL Server Standard on instances with any machine type, but shared-core machine types machine types will not run optimally. Google recommends that you use instances with at least one vCPU to run SQL Server Standard.

SQL Server Enterprise

Instances that run SQL Server Enterprise must have at least 4 vCPUs. For optimal performance, Google recommends that you run SQL Server Enterprise on instances with larger memory capacities. Depending on your workload, you should use high-memory machine types with 8 vCPUs or more. These machine types maximize the ratio of memory to each vCPU that is available on Compute Engine, which is optimal for SQL Server Enterprise instances.

Additionally, you can use SQL Server Enterprise on Compute Engine to create SQL Server Availability Groups.

Licensing for images with SQL Server

If you need to run SQL Server on Compute Engine, create an instance with a Windows Server image that includes SQL Server preinstalled. These images handle licensing for both Windows Server and SQL Server and enable you to adopt a pay as you go model for your Windows Server and SQL Server licenses. The pay as you go model lets you pay for SQL Server only when you need it with per-minute billing.

Alternatively, you can bring your existing Microsoft Application Licenses for SQL Server to your Windows Server instances on Compute Engine, but you must continue to manage those licenses yourself.

Default components

SQL Server images include several components by default. The default components depend on the edition of SQL Server that you selected.

SQL Server Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions:

  • SQL Server
    • Database Engine
    • Replication
    • Full text search
  • Analysis services
  • Reporting services
  • Data quality services
  • Integration services
  • Master data services
  • Tools
    • SQL Server Management Studio (2012 and 2014 only)
    • SQL Server Configuration Manager
    • Business Intelligence Development Studio
    • SQL Server Setup
    • Client Tools Connectivity
    • Client Tools SDK
    • SQL Client Connectivity SDK
    • Data-tier applications
    • Backup and Restore
    • Attach and Detach
  • SQL Server Books online

SQL Server Express edition:

  • SQL Server
    • Database Engine
    • Replication
    • Full text search
  • Reporting services

If you need to add or remove components, you can add features to your SQL Server installation. SQL Server images always include the setup executable at C:\sql_server_install\setup.exe.

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