Google adds Managed VM to its Cloud Platform – Best of IaaS and PaaS

Google announces Managed Virtual Machines at the Google Platform Live Event in San Francisco. Managed VMs lets you run any binary inside a VM and turn it into a part of your App Engine app with just a few lines of code. App Engine will automatically manage these VMs.

Urs Hölzle, the senior vice president at Google overseeing the company’s datacenter and cloud services, talked up the appeal of PaaS services like Google App Engine, which provides a complete managed stack but lacks the flexibility of services like IaaS. The downside of IaaS, of course, is it requires extensive management.  Google’s Managed VMs give enterprises the complete managed platform of PaaS, while allowing a customer to add VMs. Those using Google App Engine who need more control can add a VM to the company’s PaaS service. This is not typically offered with PaaS offerings and often forces companies to use IaaS.

You can start with App Engine and if you ever run into a case where you need more control, or need to use a language or library that App Engine doesn’t support, you can replace part of your application with a VM. For example, your application may need access to a native resource, such as a file system or network stack; or you might require a library or framework that is only available in C or C++. Current Platform as a service offerings lack this type of support and developers are forced off the cliff into an Infrastructure as a service world. With Managed VMs, this is not the case.  You can also take an application built on unmanaged VMs and let Google handle management and scaling. You get a good combination of total control and freedom of Compute Engine VMs with the auto-management capabilities of App Engine.

Going a step further, Google is also re-architecting how cloud instances are sold. In the typical cloud model, on-demand based pricing for virtual resources is always more expensive than if a developer buys some form of a reserved instance. In order to bridge the gap between reserved and on-demand virtual instances, Google is now introducing the idea of sustained-use discounts. In the sustained-use model, an on-demand Google Cloud user will get a discount after a virtual instance is used for a specific amount of time.  For more details on the sustained-use discounts, click here

Google is also allowing operating systems such as Suse, Red Hat Linux and Microsoft Windows Server to be used within its cloud. This is considered a minimum necessity for many established businesses. BigQuery is being modified to take in 100,000 data records per second, allowing for the fast analysis of large streams of data.

Managed VMs are currently available to early access users and will soon be more broadly available as a preview technology. If you are keen to try it out, please sign up.