Google Compute Engine moves to General Availability

Google Compute Engine is now Generally Available to Developers. GCE offers Linux Virtual Machines, where you can host your applications, powered by Google's infrastructure. The service was first announced at I/O 2012 and has seen consistent announcements in terms of features, performance benchmarks, security and a host of network infrastructure capabilities over the year.

The GA status comes with a host of announcements that include a best in class SLA, extended Operating System support, more instance types, new Persistent Disk Support and significant price cuts.

Ari Balogh, VP of Storage Infrastructure Products at Google made the announcement at the Google Cloud Platform Blog and stated that the service is now available with 24/7 support and a 99.95% monthly SLA, which is significantly better than a lot of data centers. While it was in preview, it supported the Debian and Centos but now it supports a lot more Linux distros that include SELinux, CoreOS, FreeBSD with a limited preview for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The number of instance types has been increased too. Specially, Google has announced support for 3 new instance types to cater to high computational and memory requirements. These instance types are available in Limited Preview with up to 16 cores and 104 gigabytes of RAM. Prices have been lowered by 10% for popular instance types across all regions.

Persistent Storage capabilities have seen a great boost too. The announcement of new Persistent Disk features offers faster IOPS, with the largest Persistent Disk volumes at 700% higher peak I/O capability. Its not just about performance but the pricing model has been changed too. The new pricing for Persistent Disks has been cut by 60% per Gigabyte and I/O charges have been dropped.

A couple of other features that are attractive are transparent maintenance and automatic restarts. The first one allows for regular updates and proactive maintenance without the downtime and reboots typically required. Additionally, in case of a failure, your VMs will be automatically restarted.

Google Compute Engine was first announced at I/O 2012 and most experts kept a close watch on how it would approach the IaaS space, given that Amazon had firmly established itself as the main player. No one doubted Google's capabilities and it took its time, announced key improvements over time. Now with General Availability, it is bound to receive serious traction from Developers, especially those who are using a myriad of Google Services to power their applications. Given its strong developer ecosystem, it is likely to keep plucking away at the market share in the IaaS space.