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Google Compute Engine to compete with Windows Azure, Amazon EC2

Cloud computing is all the rage these days, and Google announced its addition to the force during its I/O developer conference.

The company unveiled Google Compute Engine, an infrastructure-as-service product that allows Linux Virtual Machines (VMs) to run on the same system that powers Google.

"This goes beyond just giving you greater flexibility and control," product manager Craig McLuckie wrote in a blog post. "Access to computing resources at this scale can fundamentally change the way you think about tackling a problem."

The Google Compute Engine offers users a number of benefits, most of which Google itself takes advantage of.

The system is built to reduce the time it takes a business to prepare for tasks that require large amounts of computing power, and also offers more consistent performance at a massive scale than the cloud, McLuckie said.

According to the company, its Compute Engine will offer 50 per cent more bang for your buck than other cloud providers. Pricing for the machine type will be based on number of virtual cores, as well as the amount of memory and local disk used; costs begin at $0.14 (9p) per hour for the lowest standard option to $1.16 (74p) per hour for eight virtual cores and 30GB of memory.

Without naming names, Google quietly called out other products, like Microsoft's Azure and Amazon EC2, claiming its own system to be superior.

The Next Web dug into the two machines and found that Google is in fact the better value, offering more RAM to users.

Machine type, network, persistent disk and IP address pricing are broken down on the Google Compute Engine Pricing website.

System capabilities include on-demand launching of one, two, four or eight virtual core VMs each with 3.75GB of memory, three different disk and cloud storage options, flexible networking solutions and open tooling to configure and launch virtual machines.

The Google Compute Engine includes integration from a number of partners, like RightScale, Puppet Labs, OpsCorde, Numerate, Cliqr and MapS.

The search giant will roll out its new system with a limited preview available to those who sign up through their Google account, but McLuckie said that the company's goal is to "give you all the pieces you need to build anything you want in the cloud."

Whether users need a platform like Google App Engine or virtual machines like the new Compute Engine, these days, McLuckie said, you define your limits.

"We're just at the start of what the cloud can do," he said.