Testing free trial of Google Cloud [EN]

I already did an overview of basic features and possible issues of AWS and Azure offerings for a free tier or trial. This is not an in-depth and detailed review and comparison of platforms. Just a first look from a completely new to this thing person’s view. I’m not sure why i have skipped Google’s option at that point. Maybe i thought there is no free or trial tier. It appears there is. If you are signed in into your Google account, you can go to https://cloud.google.com/ and press the “Get started for free” button. Google gives you 300$ credit for 12 months and tells you a few times, that it won’t automatically convert you into a paying customer and charge you suddenly.

  • Comparing to AWS and Azure UI i think Google’s is the most polished and modern looking. It uses dynamic/AJAX menus and elements a lot. On your dashboard you can drag widgets around and add more or hide them. Main navigation is in the left panel which hides, when you don’t need it. Overall a very clean design.
  • Although i like that Google is very clear that they won’t charge you, billing page is a bit confusing still. Maybe that’s because i’m on that free trial credit. I see that my 300$ credit is losing a few cents every day, but i can’t find details on what exactly is draining it. Maybe this is even some kind of timer. Although it also counts days left in the trial right besides that. Btw, currently i have just a single VM and it is tuned off most of the time, so it looks like 300$ is more than enough to do basic testing and i might not spend it completely through out the year. Maybe at the end of the month they will charge that credit with a bigger sum. But still, the VM i have created showed me 58$ per month price, so it still should be enough for a while. Will update this post if i found something new about it.
  • There are regular options in the dashboard like with other platforms: compute, storage, VMs, app platforms and so on. I was mostly interested in VMs, so only tried out this option.
  • It’s nice that VM price is showing all the time as you configure it and changes dynamically, so you can see in real time what increases the cost. Even selecting Europe instead of US is adding to a price a bit.
  • Although assigned resources affect prices the most (CPU, memory, disk), OS selection also affects this. Linux VM with standard 1 CPU, 10 GB disk and 3,75 GB memory costs around 27$/month (Europe). Windows Server jumps to 58$. Partly because of a bigger 50 GB disk (can’t make it less), but mostly because of a license fee.
  • There is also a bunch of advanced settings to configure like identity, authentication, firewall, etc.
  • Interestingly enough, Google Cloud is not shielding off VMs by default from public access like AWS or Azure do. I was able to login via RDP into my VM right after creating it. I had to go to Networking menus, create some rules and apply them to my new instance to only allow access from my IP. Well, one can create rules and make them as default for new instances, but it is worth to know such nuance when starting with Google Cloud.
  • Wasn’t able to find how to rename your instance after creating it. So be careful with that, i guess.
  • As i have mentioned, i have used RDP to connect to my Windows Server 2019 VM. It provides RDP menu right on the instances page and is quite intuitive and more convenient than AWS or even Azure’s option. I only had issue with Generate admin’s password field as it was adding an invisible space before the password and i had problems copying it to my password manager.
  • Getting back to dynamic UI, i was pleasantly surprised that Google Cloud console is saving everything you have put into fields even if you navigate away and then get back to the same menu.
  • Same as with Azure, your public IP stays with your VM even if it is turned off. UPDATE: IP didn’t change after having VM turned off for a day, but after leaving a machine off for a few weeks it did change. Although, when i ran my VM again after a few weeks of offline, it retained previous IP. I guess there is some number of days set after which IP is released. Wasn’t able to quickly find documentation on that.
  • Have no scientific proof, but it seemed that VM is starting faster on Google Cloud than on AWS/Azure after you press Start on the instances page. I was able to RDP into VM very quickly (less than 30 seconds), whereas i had to wait for a minute or so on other platforms.

UPDATE 2019.08.20: Google just send me an email about planned changes to IP usage pricing. Next year (starting from 2020 January 1) they will start charging for external IP usage. Although they will fully discount this for 3 first months. So you will start paying since April 1st. An additional 0,002-0,004$/hour per VM.

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