The Google Cloud Platforms Compute Engine works very much like the AWS EC2 platform, so you can start and run cloud servers very quickly. We show you how to get started and start a server if you are new to the platform.
Start a server
Google has a wide range of computer-related services, ranging from container orchestration platforms with managed Kubernetes to serverless features using Google Cloud Functions. But if you just want to run a basic Linux or Windows server, you can do so from Compute Engine, which is their common use platform.
From the Google Cloud Platform Console, choose Compute Engine> VM Instances:
From here you can select “Create instance” to start a new one.
You have some options to start here. You can start a blank image (default), start an image with an existing template or machine image that you have created, or start an image from the market with images with pre-installed software. It is worth looking at the market to see if there is an image for the application you are trying to run.
If you choose to use a Marketplace VM, many of the following fields will be preconfigured for you. Otherwise you have to choose them yourself.
First of all, give the instance a name and choose which region and zone you want to start in. Regions denote geographical regions and zones denote physically separate data centers.
Next, Google has a good configurator for, for example, sizes. Instead of providing lots of different instance families and levels, as AWS does, GCP simply lets you select a generation and configure it with the amount of cores and memory you need. Of course, you can select the pre-built templates if you want, as well as memory and calculate optimized versions in the other tabs.
This can always be extended in the future with a restart of an instance, so you do not have to make a final decision immediately.
If you want to add a GPU, you can do so below under “CPU platform and GPU.” If you are deploying a Windows Server, you will probably want to enable “Turn on display device” so that you can connect via RDP.
Then configure storage for the instance. By default, it is set to a 10 GB hard drive with Debian pre-installed. You can change the operating system and even switch to an SSD from the “Change” dialog box. You also have the great option of distributing a container image to the root of the instance.
Under the “Management, security, disks” drop-down menu, there are a few more settings to configure. In particular, you should add your personal SSH key under the “Security” tab to make connecting to the instance easier.
Of course, if you have a few minutes, you should definitely set up OS login and add project-wide SSH keys to your user account, which is the preferred method of managing SSH logins on GCP, and allows you to access all newly created instances without to manually add your SSH keys. You can read our guide on how to set it up to learn more.
Connects to your instance
Return to the VM Instances console once your instance has started. It takes about a minute to boot up and then appears running in the console.
You can press the “SSH” button to open a new dialog with a web-based terminal, but if you manually added your SSH key during installation or set up OS login, you can simply connect to it from your desired terminal.
If you click on the instance to open the settings, you will find the “Monitoring” tab with some useful graphs that show how your instance is doing, including CPU usage over time, disk IO and network in / out.
This page is just a preview of Google’s complete monitoring platform, which you can use to keep track of all your servers.