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Does Google Container Engine meet your container orchestration needs?

Powered by the Google Kubernetes system, Google Container Engine provides services for clustering, orchestrating and running Docker containers both on premises and in the cloud.

Google Container Engine is a container orchestration system designed to run Docker containers on the Google Cloud Platform. Google's container management system is powered by Kubernetes, an open source container cluster manager designed by Google that provides a platform for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized application.

How does the system help run containers?

Google Container Engine is a cluster manager and orchestration system for running a business' Docker containers. It supports the common Docker container format. The system schedules containers into the cluster and manages them automatically based on requirements defined by the business, such as CPU and memory. Users of Google's container orchestration system can set up a managed container cluster of virtual machines and have it ready for deployment in minutes. Each cluster is equipped with capabilities -- such as logging and container health checking -- to make application management easier.

Users can declare their containers' requirements, such as the amount of CPU/memory to reserve, number of replicas and its "keep alive" policy, in a simple JSON config file. Google's container management system then schedules containers as declared and actively manages applications to ensure requirements are met going forward.

Google Container Engine includes Google's private container register, which makes it easier to store and access private Docker images. Applications can be automatically scaled up or down, based on resource utilization. Businesses can enable Google Cloud Logging by clicking on a checkbox within the system, enabling them to gain insight into how applications are running.

Because the system is managed by Google reliability engineers, the company ensures that clusters are available and kept up to date. To enable hybrid networking, businesses can reserve an IP address range for their container cluster, allowing their cluster IPs to coexist with private network IPs via Cloud VPN from Google. In terms of container security, users can control access in the cluster with their Google accounts and role permissions, enabling identity and access management.

Who benefits from using Google Container Engine?

Because many companies (such as CoreOS, Huawei, IBM, OpenStack, Red Hat and VMware) have integrated Kubernetes into their platforms, businesses using Google's container orchestration system are able to move workloads or take advantage of multiple cloud providers. Users can also take advantage of on-premises, hybrid or public cloud infrastructures thanks to Google Container Engine's utilization of the Kubernetes.

Google Container Engine is intended for businesses that want to run a managed cluster of computers for running dozens of containers. For those that want to build their own clusters, either on public infrastructure or on their own systems, Google recommends Kubernetes. Using the newest version of Kubernetes (Kubernetes 1.4), Google's container orchestration system can run on twice as many nodes in a cluster as before (up to 2,000), and services can now span different availability zones.

How is the system licensed and priced?

The first five nodes are free of charge using Google Container Engine, and for six or more nodes pricing is 15 cents per cluster. Charging begins automatically when clusters are increased to six or more nodes. When clusters are resized down to five or fewer nodes, charging is automatically stopped.

Next Steps

What features should you look for when choosing a container management system?

What is the best app modernization approach for your business?

Orchestration tools are important in the DevOps age

This was last published in December 2016

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