Launch Checklist for Compute Engine

Introduction

This Launch Checklist for Compute Engine gives recommended activities that you should complete for launching a commercial application that uses Google Compute Engine. This checklist focuses on Compute Engine-specific activities. You should also use the general checklist, Launch Checklist for Google Cloud Platform, to understand the activities you should also complete that apply to all services.

This Launch Checklist for Compute Engine is designed for developers who are proficient with Compute Engine. If you are just starting out with Compute Engine, these instructions will not teach you how to use Compute Engine; instead, new users should start with the Quickstart: Creating an instance and launching Apache.

This checklist is broken down into five sections:

  • Architecture Design and Development
  • Alpha Testing
  • Soft Launch
  • Final Launch
  • Post Launch

The sections are presented in the order we recommend that you use them as you prepare to launch your application. For example, you should start with the Architecture Design and Development Checklist first; it contains activities that we recommend you do early in your app's development lifecycle. Similarly, the Soft Launch Checklist contains activities we recommend when you are close to launch. However, the exact timeline of the checklist activities and the time required for them depends on your app development time frame.

Architecture Design and Development Checklist

We recommend that you use this checklist in the early stages of the development of your application. You can work on the checklist activities from the groups in parallel; however, we recommend that you start the software architecture-related activities as early as possible as they require more time to complete.

Activity
Community/Groups/Forums
❑  
Consult Google Compute Engine community support on Stack Overflow. It's a great source of information and practical advice.
❑  
Subscribe to the Google Compute Engine Operations group for important service-related announcements, including notification of downtime and service issues.
Estimate Traffic
❑  
Calculate traffic estimates, preferably with a spreadsheet model as this allows you to audit your assumptions and functionality. Start with any data points you have and continually evolve and refine the estimates. Use the traffic estimates to anticipate required cores, disks, and network throughput.
❑  
Calculate estimated throughput (MBps, GBps, etc.). Make sure there is some level of DOS protection at the application/virtual machine layer as well such as IP throttling.
Estimate Traffic
❑  
If your deployment is cross-region, verify the network latency incurred for cross-region communication is acceptable (e.g., virtual machines in Europe connecting to Redis in North America).
❑  
If your application requires external connectivity to your on-premises infrastructure, consider evaluating if Google Cloud Interconnect could fit your needs.
Quota Management
❑  
If you are an enterprise customer, discuss resource/CPU/disk needs with support through Google for Work Support Center (GWSC). If you are not an enterprise support customer, make a request to increase your quota on the Quotas page in the Cloud Platform Console.
❑  
Note that the API to invoke Compute Engine operations has rate and daily quotas too. For more information, see API Rate Limits.
❑  
Verify Compute Engine resource quota availability. Make sure Compute Engine cores, persistent disks, public IP addresses are available in primary and disaster recovery region/zones. If you are using autoscaling, make sure the anticipated increase in peak load is accounted for as well.
❑  
Reserve a static external IP address or assign external IP addresses to instances that require access to the Internet. If an instance does not require an external IP address, you can choose not to specify one.
❑  
Estimate persistent disk requirements. Persistent disk performance is proportional to size. Estimate IOPS required for various services (e.g., database I/O-intensive versus light memory-only services). You can estimate the price-performance characteristics using the following link as a guide: Compute Engine Disks: Price, Performance, and Persistence.
DevOps/Operations
❑  
Draft a backup strategy and disaster recovery plan that includes step-by-step procedures to restart services in another region or zone. If your application has zonal services, account for single zone downtime in the recovery plan. Test migration back and forth.
❑  
Confirm that disaster recovery plans account for zone or region specific resources. Operation plans for disaster mitigation may involve setting up data replication on certain resources. For example, Persistent Disks are zone-specific so the data in a persistent disk in one zone may need to get replicated to another zone.
❑  
Verify that virtutal machine custom TCP/OS settings (e.g., /etc/sysctl.conf, ulimit) are present in startup and deployment scripts.
❑  
Verify that no deprecated zones are being used.
❑  
Ensure you setup monitoring/alerting system. You can either programmatically set up monitoring using Cloud Monitoring or integrate alerts through Google Stackdriver.
Testing
❑  
Create a test plan and include tests that validate startup scripts, instance creation, project-to-project authentication, persistent disk performance, instance failures, instance migration, firewall rules, packet loss, external network issues, etc.

Alpha Testing Checklist

Use the Alpha Testing Checklist when you are close to code complete and want to get initial metrics about your application.

Activity
❑  
Draft step-by-step migration procedures and verify dependencies such as VPNs, firewalls, DNS, Compute Engine quota, Cloud Storage buckets, and BigQuery datasets.
❑  
Verify migration procedure against test and development environments, if applicable.
❑  
Perform at least one more round of functional and load tests.
❑  
A week before launch, re-verify quota (i.e., spin up instances and keep them up, etc.). Compute Engine quota is region based and is a limit, not a guarantee of capacity.

Soft Launch Checklist

Prior to your application's commercial launch, we recommend using the Soft Launch Checklist activities to test your launch readiness.

Activity
❑  
Execute production migration procedure to start virtual machines, configure networks, firewalls, application servers, databases.

Final Launch Checklist

Use the Final Launch Checklist shortly before and during your launch.

Activity
❑  
If you have a support agreement, notify enterprise support of launch calendar/timelines.
❑  
Complete final stages of migration procedures.

Post Launch Checklist

Activity
❑  
Make periodic backups/snapshots of configuration files and even virtual machine runtimes (e.g., persistent disk snapshots). Use gcloud compute to download configuration settings.

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