Google's infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) Compute Engine has reached general availability following more than a year of limited access among a small user base. In addition to feature updates and the addition of 16-core virtual machine (VM) instances, Google has also slashed the pricing of its persistent disk services by up to 60 percent.
With general availability, Google has added features which it says now make it worthy of being a fully fledged service. Compute Engine now supports all out-of-the-box Linux distributions, and works with any kernel users need in order to run bespoke software required to undertake specific tasks. Previously only Debian and CentOS were usable. Google has also announced support for SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Google has also introduced transparent maintenance to its cloud services, with all virtual machines automatically migrated over to other data centres during maintenance, with no interruption to service. The technology has already been rolled out to Google's US data centres and will be arriving in Europe in the coming months. Compute Engine now also supports automatic virtual machine restarts to minimise downtime following a failure.
Barak Regev, Google's head of cloud platform in Europe told V3 that transparent maintenance was a crucial feature which took Compute Engine from limited access to general availability.
"It's a living organ which has to be continually updated, otherwise it will not deliver the consistency you're familiar with as a consumer while using Google.com, Gmail and YouTube," he said. "That's what has been the missing piece in order to get to general availability it's that transparency for our end users."
New, more powerful virtual machines have been introduced, with Google now offering VMs with up to 16 cores and 104GB of RAM for users looking for top-end services. Regev said this addition was a long-standing request from users demanding high-performance computing. "As much as we're engaged in high-performance computing, we're hearing more and more requests to go even further," he said.
In addition to cutting the price of its persistent disks by up to 60 percent and eliminating input/output (I/O) charges as well as reportedly increasing performance eightfold, Google has also cut the price of its most popular standard instances product by 10 percent.
Google is making a significant push with its cloud platform, aiming to become an end-to-end provider of both end-user services, such as Apps, and developer-friendly products including Compute Engine and App Engine.
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