Microsoft software on Compute Engine

You can run your Windows applications on 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.

For information about licenses for Microsoft software, see Microsoft licenses.

Windows quickstart

If you are new to Compute Engine, follow the Windows quickstart to learn how to create Windows virtual machine instances using the Cloud 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 several versions of Windows Server.

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

Windows client

Bring existing Windows client licenses to Compute Engine by bringing your own license with sole-tenant nodes and importing your image as a virtual disk. Similar to bringing your license with Windows Server, you must continue to manage license and compliance yourself. For more information about Windows client support, see Windows client.

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-premises 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 out 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 VM instances that run SQL Server in the following ways:

For a full list of the available images that include SQL Server preinstalled, see the Feature support by operating system.

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 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.

Default components

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

For information about the default components included with your version of SQL Server, see Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2019.

For information about modifying the SQL Server components, see Add Features to an Instance of SQL Server.

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