Google Compute Engine updates: What you need to know

Now available for open signups, Google Compute Engine's billing policies have also already been slightly revised.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- The opening morning of Google I/O focused primarily on Android and Chrome, but the spotlight turned more towards business and the enterprise space during afternoon sessions.

One division getting a much-needed update (news and product-wise) is the Google Compute Engine, which first debuted at I/O 2012 last June as an open Infrastructure-as-a-Service for running virtual machines.

For starters, the Compute Engine is ready for an open preview and available for open signups. Essentially, interested customers can head to cloud.google.com and start using Compute Engine later today.

Furthermore, Google is adding Cloud Datastore, a new and fully-managed NoSQL-based database for non-relational data. The standalone service offers automatic scalability, ACID transactions, SQL-like queries, and indexes.

Google is also unveiling a limited preview of PHP for App Engine, which Google senior vice president Urs Hölzle described in a blog post as the most requested feature from its developer base:

We’re bringing one of the most popular web programming languages to App Engine so that you can run open source apps like Wordpress. It also offers deep integration with other parts of Cloud Platform including Google Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage.

We’ve also heard that we need to make building modularized applications on App Engine easier. We are introducing the ability to partition apps into components with separate scaling, deployments, versioning and performance settings.

Other major additions:

  • Large persistent disks that support up to 10 terabytes per volume, which Google boasted as 10 times the industry standard
  • Advanced Routing, a new feature that creates gateways and VPN servers for building apps that span both local networks and Google's cloud
  • ISO 27001:2005 international security certification for Compute Engine, Google App Engine, and Google Cloud Storage

Compute Engine's billing policies have also been slightly revised. The two major changes to know concern sub-hour billing, which charges for instances in one-minute increments with a ten-minute minimum.

Google wants to assure customers this means they won't pay for unused compute minutes.

The second alteration revolves around shared-core instances, which now provide smaller instance shapes for low-intensity workloads.

These changes follow up another price reduction and upgrade in April. To recall, Google cut all GCE prices by four percent and introduced two more supported zones across Europe.

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