Google Cloud Compute Engine Overview

What is Compute Engine?

Compute Engine is a computing and hosting service that lets you create and run virtual machines on Google infrastructure. Compute Engine offers scale, performance, and value that lets you easily launch large compute clusters on Google’s infrastructure. There are no upfront investments, and you can run thousands of virtual CPUs on a system that offers quick, consistent performance.

Google Cloud Documentation

As described above, it’s Google Cloud’s service to host virtual machines. This service compares to Amazon EC2 and Azure Compute. There is lot to cover, in time I hope to cover more. For now, I aim to give high level thoughts, base concepts, and general knowledge on Compute Engine.

How are Virtual Machines Priced?

Pricing for Google virtual machines is straight forward. You pay based on time for vCPUs, GPUs, and RAM. You will be charged for at least a minute, after the first minute you are charged for each 1 second increment after.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. First, if you run a virtual machine for 47 seconds, you will be charged for 1 minute. Second, if you ran another virtual machine for 3 minutes and 05 seconds, you’d be charged for 185 seconds. The charge for the first minute the following seconds will be based on the machine type you’ve chosen for the virtual machine.

You should also know that this cost of the virtual machine doesn’t include the cost of things like disks and networking. Those costs are charged independently. You will also get sustained use discounts for prolonged used of virtual machines in Compute Engine.

Here are some pricing resources:

Migrating Virtual Machines to Google Compute Engine

Creating new virtual machines in Compute Engine is very straight forward. But, what if you want to move existing virtual machines to Compute Engine? You can migrate physical machines and virtual machines from VMware vSphere, AWS, and Azure with Migrate for Compute Engine. There are two different versions 4.x and 5 of Migrate for Compute Engine. Their are some differences between each version and I suggest you research what you should use before jumping down the rabbit hole.

The concept is pretty easy to follow:

  1. Install and configure a connector in your environment
  2. Connect to Google Compute Engine
  3. Migrate the virtual machines

The below documentation details the process in full. There are other steps that need to be taken. You will need to configure your GCP Project, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Interconnects, and more. I’m mostly trying to give you a taste of what you can do with Compute Engine.

How Compute Engine Compares to AWS and Azure

Below is a list provided by Google that compares all of its compute features to the two other major cloud providers.

Service typeGoogle Cloud ProductGoogle Cloud Product DescriptionAWS OfferingAzure Offering
Core computeCloud GPUsTrain and run machine learning models faster than before.Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) P3GPU Optimized VMs
Core computeCloud TPUTrain and run machine learning models faster than ever before.AWS UltraClustersAzure Virtual Machines
Core computeCompute EngineAccelerate your digital transformation with high-performance VMs.Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)Azure Virtual Machines
Core computeCompute Engine AutoscalerAutomatically add or delete VM instances from a managed instance group (MIG) based on increases or decreases in load.AWS AutoscalingAzure Autoscale, Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets
Core computeOS LoginManage SSH access to your instances using IAM without having to create and manage individual SSH keys.Amazon EC2 Instance Connect
Core computePersistent DiskReliable, high-performance block storage for VM instances.Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)Azure Managed Disks
Core computeSSH from the browserConnect to a Compute Engine virtual machine (VM) instance using SSH with the Google Cloud Console in your web browser.AWS EC2 Instance ConnectAzure Bastion
Dedicated VMsSole-tenant nodesHost your VMs on hardware dedicated only to your project.Amazon EC2 Dedicated HostAzure Dedicated Host
FaaSCloud FunctionsRun your code with zero server management with this scalable, pay-as-you-go functions-as-a-service (FaaS) offering.AWS LambdaAzure Functions Serverless Compute
Infracture modernizationSAP on Google CloudRun SAP on Google Cloud.SAP on AWSSAP on Azure
PaaSApp EngineBuild highly scalable applications on a fully managed serverless platform.AWS Elastic BeanstalkAzure App Service
VMware connectivityVMware EngineMigrate and run your VMware workloads on Google Cloud.VMware Cloud on AWSAzure VMware Solution