Google Compute Engine



As I’m learning about different parts of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), I thought it’d be a good idea to share my notes. GCP documentation is great and it contains a lot of detailed information but sometimes I prefer cheat sheet style notes and that’s what I intend to provide here.

GCP is nicely divided into different sections: Compute, Storage, Networking, Big Data, Services, Management. I started looking into Compute layer and more specifically, Compute Engine. Here are my notes on Compute Engine.

What is Compute Engine?

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering of Google Cloud.
  • At its core, it’s 3 things: Virtual Machines, Disks, and Networking.
  • Additionally: Scaling, monitoring, regions & zones.
  • Access via web-based GCP console, Restful API & client libraries, and gcloud compute command-line tool.

Virtual Machines

  • Core component of Compute Engine.
  • Supports different machine types: Standard, high-CPU, high-memory, shared core (full list). You can even have custom machine types, if none of these meet your needs.
  • Supports different operating systems: Ubuntu, Debian, Windows and more. (full list).


  • Persistent Disk and Local SSD storage (more detail).
  • Persistent Disk has two flavors: standard (HDD) and solid-state (SSD).
  • Automatic encryption and redundancy against data corruption.




Regions & Zones

  • Regions: Central US, Eastern US, East Asia, Western Europe (more detail).
  • Zones are sub-regions basically.


These are different management options for Compute Engine:

  • GCP Console: Browser-based Google tool that to manage Compute Engine resources.
  • gcloud compute: command-line tool to manage Compute Engine, instead of the API.
  • Compute Engine API: HTTP/JSON based REST API for pretty much everything in Compute Engine.
  • Client libraries: Many community and Google supported client libraries for  Compute Engine API.



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