Google Cloud Fundamentals
Google Compute Engine

Google Compute Engine

GCP's IaaS offering allowing one to spin up virtual machines and networks of virtual machines. Google manages the hardware layer, we are fully responsible for software layer.

  • innovative pricing
    • sub-hour billing
      • paying by the minute with 10 minute minimum
      • discounted pricing for sustained usage
    • preemptible instances
      • up to 70% cheaper
      • short-lived - up to 24 hours before being terminated
  • robust networking features
  • instance metadata and startup scripts
  • wide range of machine types
    • can specify custom machine attributes
  • HTTP and network load balancing
  • Google Cloud Monitoring
    • create uptime checks
    • get notified when there are issues
    • creat dashboards from generated metrics
  • persistent disk snapshots
    • makes it easy to backup or migrate data
  • APIs for auto-scaling and group management
    • group management allows for pools of virtual machines (instance groups) based on a template
    • auto-scaling allows for machines to be automatically scaled within an instance group based on specified metrics

Compute Engine Resources

  • instances provide CPU and memory
  • standard, SSD, and local SSD persistent disks
    • standard and SSD are network attached
    • local SSD is directly attached storage used for intensive workloads
  • images for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Server
  • support for disk snapshots
  • networks with firewall rules
    • networks allow one to create many virtual machines that communicate with each other
    • firewall rules dictate traffic coming in or out of the network
  • forwarding rules for load balancing
    • balance traffic across the network

When we spin up a Compute Engine virtual machine instance we:

  • define a region and zone for the instance
  • define the physical specifications of the machine
  • attach persistent disks to the machine
  • attach a boot disk with an OS, bootloader, and file system

Compute Engine in developer console

Compute Engine (opens in a new tab)

In the navigation:

  • VM Instances
    • list of instances for the current project
  • Instance groups
    • managing pools of VMs
  • Instance templates
    • templates for spinning up instance groups
  • Disks
    • persistent data attached to instances
    • disks can be created independently and then attached to instances
  • Snapshots
    • backed up data
  • Images
    • available OSs to configure VMs with
  • Metadata
    • project-wide metadata
    • each instance has its own metadata, but project-wide metadata can be configured here that all instances have access to
  • Health checks
    • used with load balancing

Networking in developer console

VPC Networks (opens in a new tab)

Compute Engine Billing

  • instances are charged for while running (and can be switched off)
  • disks are charged for bt allocated amount (not amount in use)
  • networks are charged for on certain operations
    • ingress (inbound traffic) generally has no charge
    • egress (outbound traffic) it depends
      • same zone, generally no charge
      • between zones / regions charges vary depending on geographical location
  • pricing calculator (opens in a new tab)
  • Compute Engine pricing (opens in a new tab) is region-specific

CLI - gcloud compute

Cloud SDK includes gcloud compute for managing GCE resources, e.g.

# create a compute instance
$ gcloud compute instances create <instance_name> --zone <zone> --project <id>
#   [1]    [2]      [2]    [          3         ]
# 1 - gcloud SDK
# 2 - compute command
# 3 - command group / resource
# 4 - commands
# get all compute command groups / resources
$ gcloud compute -h
# get all operations that can be performed on a specific command group / resource
$ gcloud compute instances -h

Accessing Instances

  • access Linux and UNIX instances of SSH
    • access via Cloud SDK

      $ gcloud compute ssh <instance>
    • over standard SSH

    • from the developer console

  • access Windows Server instances over Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)