Google has announced official support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 instances on its Compute Engine cloud service, and is pitching the new support as ideal for customers looking to move from the now unsupported Windows Server 2003.
The company is somewhat late to the game in offering support for Windows servers on its cloud platform, but acknowledged that customers deploy and operate diverse sets of technologies and said that it wanted to make Google Cloud Platform a first-class place to run production Windows Server workloads.
Google actually added beta support for Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition on Compute Engine at the end of last year, but the latest move means that Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 benefit from operational support from Google and are covered by the Compute Engine service level agreement.
Windows Server is graduating to general availability, as Google terms it, and customers operating Windows instances can take advantage of features such as rapid deployment, increased uptime thanks to transparent maintenance, low-cost block storage and Google Cloud Storage Nearline backup.
Google has also made several Windows-specific improvements to the Compute Engine virtualisation stack to deliver the full benefits of Google network to Windows Server users, according to Google Cloud product manager Alex Gaysinsky.
"With multi queue and generic receive offload support, Windows Server running on Compute Engine can reach up to 7.5Gbps of throughput," he wrote on the Google Cloud Platform blog.
"This reduces the number of Windows Server instances required to serve web-based applications and helps our customers more effectively contain their infrastructure and operational costs."
Google also sees the new offering as an opportunity to pick up business from customers still running Windows Server 2003, which hit end of life this week. The firm said it can help such users migrate away from Windows Server 2003 "faster and for less money".
In a further blog posting, Google outlined how customers can quickly fire up a Windows Server 2012 R2 instance on Compute Engine and take advantage of per-minute billing to test how their workloads run on the new platform, before carrying out a full migration.
"Microsoft has a resource that outlines a four-step approach to moving off Windows Server 2003. The first two steps provide tools and recommendations for understanding what applications you need to move," the blog states.
"Once you know which applications you need to move, Google Compute Engine can speed up - and reduce the cost of - the final two steps: Target and Migrate.
Google also suggests that, once a migration is successfully complete, users may wish to consider going further and re-architecting their applications to make better use of its cloud-based services.
"Rather than migrate an old data warehouse, you might consider replacing it with BigQuery. Just think, it'd be the last time you ever do a patch, manage a reboot, or update the operating system on your warehouse, ever!" the firm said.
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