Bring your own license FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions around bringing your own license to Compute Engine. For an overview of this feature, read the Overview documentation. For step-by-step instructions on setting up this feature, read the How-to documentation.

Are VM licenses altered when updating the tenancy of a VM?

When you modify the tenancy of a VM, Compute Engine does not alter its license.

Can I share imported BYOL images with others?

After importing, you can optionally share the image with users outside your project or organization by using gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding, after which they can access the shared images from their project.

Can I customize the image import workflows?

The image import workflows are customizable and available on GitHub.

Can I import images that are online and running?

In addition to importing operating system images that are offline, you can import images from VMs that are online and running.

What licensing options are available to me on Compute Engine?

What am I responsible for when bringing my own license?

Customers, and not Google, are solely responsible for ensuring compliance with Microsoft licensing under any Bring Your Own License (BYOL) arrangement.

  • Google will provide the tools, but customers are responsible for compliance.
  • Customers may have bespoke licensing arrangements with Microsoft which result in different requirements (more or less restrictive). As a result, Google cannot make definitive claims on whether or not they are covered.
  • To ensure Microsoft licensing compliance, customers can choose Google Cloud's premium Windows licenses, which are offered on a pay-as-you-go model.

What versions of Windows OSes are available for bring your own license with sole-tenant nodes?

The following table denotes the versions of Windows OSes that are currently available with bring your own license with sole-tenant nodes on Compute Engine:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)

What options will be available for Windows client?

Compute Engine does not provide or sell Windows client licenses. For Windows clients (e.g., Windows 10, Windows 7, and so on), you can bring own Windows client license using Bring your own license with sole-tenant nodes.

How do I know which Google Cloud offerings to use with my operating system?

Please evaluate your licensing terms and agreement to determine whether Compute Engine supports your bring your own license requirements. Generally speaking, the following Compute Engine products are available for bring your own license requirements:

Google Cloud offering Microsoft apps Windows client BYOL Windows Server BYOL
VM Instance ✓* X X
VM Instance on sole-tenant nodes X
VM Instance on sole-tenant nodes with in-place restarts

*Available through license mobility on Google Cloud.

How do I activate my BYOL licenses?

Unlike premium images where Compute Engine takes care of license activation, imported BYOL images requires you to own the license activation process.

How does pricing work?

For sole-tenant nodes, you are charged for the entire node (currently only n1-highmem-96-624 machines are available) + a 10% premium. This reserves the entire node for your use. As such, you can place as many (or as few) VMs on the node without any additional cost. Configuring the node to support BYOL will not result in additional charges. See our pricing page for additional details. Both sustained use discounts and committed use discounts apply to sole-tenant nodes. Notice the license and billing behavior are controlled by the OS option you choose during disk import process. If you use a wrong option or use Compute Engine public Images as a source, Google Cloud pay-as-you-go licenses are attached and there are no way to change that VM to use your own licenses later.

Will there always be a monthly downtime with this feature?

The sole-tenant functionality allows you to restart nodes in-place, in order to limit physical server usage. This feature is coupled with the terminate option, which means that VMs are terminated and then restarted when a maintenance event occurs. In the future, Google will provide additional features to mitigate this downtime.

What's next