I am currently exploring Cloud VM options and did the trial of Google’s Cloud VM/Public Cloud. Upon signing up, you get $300 in credits to use over the course of 6 months. Bundled into this offering is Google’s App Engine (for building and testing Apps), Compute Engine (for VMs), Container Engine (for packaging Apps), and Cloud Storage Buckets (unstructured objects in hierarchical containers).
Signing up was simple, and you’re immediately presented with all of the options Google offers including VM machines, Applications and Storage Bucket. The Compute Engine allows you to create and use virtual machines that run in Google’s infrastructure. Creating a server instance was simple and straight forward. You give your instance a name, set the machine type (default is 1vCPU and 3.75 GB Ram, but you can select several different machine specs including high CPU or high memory machines), select your boot disk (preconfigured Linux, CoreOS, Ubuntu, Windows Server 2008/2012 DataCenter…or add your own windows image), set some basic firewall rules and create!
I appreciated that they offer easy to follow tutorials to help get you started and familiar with the GUI. I found this extremely helpful to acclimate to the platform and quickly figure out my way around and how to complete tasks needed.
I spun up a Win 2012 Server in less than a minute. I had a little issue connecting via RDP. First, remember to set your UN and PW on the VM, then if you use your native RDP, be sure to go thru the ‘additional settings’ to remove your local domain from the username…you have to log in using plain username and PW set for you. Once logged in, you’ve got a full on VM ready to play with!
The Google Dev Console offers plenty of information including all your recent activity, billing info, and info on all of your VMs. Pricing so far seems to be comparable to other platforms I’ve looked into in that you only pay for what you use. However Google claims they are 40% cheaper as they bill per-minute (10 minute minimum though), and others make you pay for a full hour, even if you only run your instance for a few minutes. Here’s a great resource for the VM pricing: https://cloud.google.com/compute/pricing
For a small shop with limited local resources, Google’s Cloud VM services could be a great sandbox or testing solution without needing to maintain a test server in your environment or taking the risk compromising your local productions servers. All in all, I’m pretty impressed with the service thus far.