Google Wants to Teach Cloud Developers About Google Compute Engine

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Print this article Print

Google is providing several technical resources to help cloud developers use the resources available through Google Compute Engine.

Google wants cloud developers to be able to take advantage of the tools it offers through its Google Compute Engine, so the search giant has released several technical papers to help developers get better acquainted with the services.

"Did you know that every Google Compute Engine instance, regardless of region and zone, can communicate to every other instance over a project private network?" wrote Chris Elliott, a Google cloud solutions architect, in an Oct. 23 post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. "It really is very simple to execute 'ping my-european-instance' from a U.S. virtual machine and have it work without any complex cross region configurations."

That's just one of the useful scenarios that Google wants to communicate to cloud developers who may not yet be familiar with Google's offerings, wrote Elliott. "If you're an experienced developer who has deployed Cloud apps before, but not yet on Google Compute Engine, you might not know that all n1 Compute Engine instances use the same hardware configuration and provide a consistent level of performance. No longer do you need to spin up many machines, run performance test, and throw away poor performing machines."

Google has just published an article, Overview of Google Compute Engine for Cloud Developers, to help experienced cloud developers transition to Compute Engine, he wrote, by highlighting the key differentiators of Compute Engine and its features that can help users create scalable and globally distributed systems.

Another article, Building High Availability Applications on Google Compute Engine, is also now available to give cloud developers "a deeper dive technical look at deploying apps on Compute Engine, along with a sample application that you can download and run," wrote Elliott. This guide introduces users to implementation details and also to common software packages for load balancers, Web servers and databases.

"Google Compute Engine provides tools such as startup scripts and meta data that can be used to automate the deployment of key components across multiple zones," wrote Elliott. "Many of the technologies developers are familiar with deploying on virtual machines are a great fit on Compute Engine and can benefit from advanced features such as the global project private network. As Google continues to build out managed services to abstract the complexities involved in a self-managed implementation, developers will always have the freedom to use their preferred technology."

Both papers also include links for SDKs and tools that can be used to implement projects on the Google cloud, as well as for training videos that highlight key steps for using the platform.

In September, Google unveiled its second version update of the Google App Engine since August, with the latest release 1.8.4 including a host of features that the company says will make it more flexible and simpler for developers to use for their applications. Included in 1.8.4 is support for Dynamic Web Projects in Eclipse to better support Google Cloud Endpoints and App Engine Backends, as well as fixes for several bugs. One other important new feature is the ability of Google App Engine to handle differential snapshots of a Google Compute Engine persistent disk, so that only the most recently changed data is updated.

The August launch of the previous App Engine 1.8.3 was also accompanied by deeper features for Google Compute Engine and the Google Cloud Datastore as the search giant continues to add functions and robustness to the Google Cloud Platform.

The new tools included Layer 3 load balancing for Google Compute Engine and improvements to the PHP runtime in the latest Google App Engine release. The Layer 3 load balancing capabilities were a key addition in the Google Compute Engine, to provide Google-scale throughput and fault tolerance to manage Internet applications.

Using the new load balancing services, developers and administrators can load-balance ingress network TCP/UDP traffic over a specific set of Compute Engine virtual machines (VMs) within the same region, while ensuring that only healthy VMs are used to serve Internet requests through the use of HTTP-based health checks, according to Google. The new tools also allow users to easily handle load spikes without prewarming their systems and to configure the load balancer via command line interface (CLI) and a programmatic RESTful API.

The enhancements all came on the coattails of other recent improvements introduced for developers by Google.

In July, Google unveiled several new features in the Google Cloud Storage environment to make it easier for developers to manage, access and upload data into the cloud. Those new capabilities included automatic deletion policies, regional buckets and faster uploads as part of a wide range of services.

In June, Google unveiled a new Cloud Playground environment where developers can quickly try out ideas on a whim, without having to commit to setting up a local development environment that's safe for testing coding experiments outside of the production infrastructure. The Cloud Playground is slated as a place where application developers can try out all kinds of things, from sample code to viewing how production APIs will behave, in a safe, controlled place without having to manage the testing environment, according to Google. The new Cloud Playground initially supports only Python 2.7 App Engine apps.

Originally published on www.eweek.com.