Google Compute Engine definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: AWS vs. Google comparison guide
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Google Compute Engine (GCE) is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering that allows clients to run workloads on Google's physical hardware. 

Google Compute Engine provides a scalable number of virtual machines (VMs) to serve as large compute clusters for that purpose.  GCE can be managed through a RESTful API, command line interface (CLI) or Web console. Compute Engine is a pay-per-usage service with a 10-minute minimum. There are no up-front fees or time-period commitments. GCE competes with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Microsoft Azure.

GCE's application program interface (API) provides administrators with virtual machine, DNS server and load balancing capabilities. VMs are available in a number of CPU and RAM configurations and Linux distributions, including Debian and CentOS. Customers may use their own system images for custom virtual machines. Data at rest is encrypted using the AEC-128-CBC algorithm.

GCE allows administrators to select the region and zone where certain data resources will be stored and used. Currently, GCE has three regions: United States, Europe and Asia. Each region has two availability zones and each zone supports either Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge processors. GCE also offers a suite of tools for administrators to create advanced networks on the regional level. 

Here is a video introduction to the Google Compute Engine:

This was first published in August 2014

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