At last year’s Google I/O developer conference, Google launched Compute Engine, a cloud computing platform that allows developers to run their apps on Linux virtual machines hosted on Google’s massive infrastructure. This was a limited launch, however, and developers had to either get an invitation or go through Google’s sales teams to get access to this service.
The support package, of course, only gives developers the ability to use Compute Engine; they will still have to pay the usual usage-based fees to access the infrastructure. The good news is that with today’s announcement, Google is also dropping all of its instance prices by 4 percent (that’s after it already dropped storage prices by 20 percent last November). Pricing now starts at $0.132 per hour for the smallest virtual machine and currently tops out at $1.211 per hour for an eight-core machine with 52GB of memory and two 1,770GB hard drives (prices in Europe are somewhat higher).
Google is also adding a few new features and instance types to Compute Engine today. Developers can now, for example, use diskless versions of the standard instance types. Google also today introduced an improved administration console, and developers can now boot from persistent disks mounted as the root file system. Also new are two additional zones in Europe, which will “provide lower latency and higher performance for our European customers.” You can read more about these feature updates here.
Given Google’s infrastructure, Google’s Compute Engine has the potential to become one of Amazon’s strongest competitors in the cloud computing space, though Amazon currently offers a far wider range of services than Google. Chances are we will hear quite a bit more about Compute Engine at this year’s I/O, which is just a few weeks away, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Google is just using the $400 per month support package right now to ensure that it can scale the service once it opens up Compute Engine for everybody.