When you’re a small business, it isn’t always easy to find affordable and reliable IT support. With Google Cloud Platform, though, you can create and manage your own server using just a browser. Setting up a Linux virtual machine is simple and fast – once you know where to begin. To help with that initial step, we’ve compiled some of the best practices for creating your own Linux server on the Google Cloud Platform. Check out this blog post to get started.

Know the Basics of Google Cloud Platform Before You Start

Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing platform that allows you to build, deploy and scale applications on the internet. Available as a hosted service or as self-managed hosting, GCP is designed to help organizations increase their investment in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, advanced analytics, and software development, with a focus on application development. Among its many services, GCP offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). With GCP, you can build, host and analyze data, run machine learning algorithms and develop applications. GCP is available across a variety of regions, including Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and West Asia, Central America, South America, Africa, and North America. Those regions are then broken down into zones – with each zone having redundant systems to ensure availability and data security.

Plan Your Virtual Machine Location

When you first create a virtual machine on GCP, you have to decide where you want the VM to run. One of the first questions you’ll have to answer is whether to host the VM in one of the regions or zones available for use (like the US Central region or the Europe Central region) or if you want to build your own VM in a location of your choosing. If you want to host in a specific region because of latency, availability or regulatory reasons, you’ll want to create a VM in that region. If you want to host in a particular zone to be close to an application that your company already has, you can choose to create a VM in that zone. Otherwise, it’s best to build your own VM in a location of your choosing.

Use a Pre-Built OS Image

When you create a new VM, you have the option to use an image or image template (also available as a snapshot). An image is an OS image stored in Google Cloud Storage that you can use to create a VM. A snapshot is an OS image stored in Google Cloud Storage that you can use to create multiple VMs from the same original source. If you’re creating a VM that’s similar to an existing VM, using an image is definitely your best bet. You can’t create a VM from scratch on the Google Cloud Platform; you must use an existing image. If you want to create a VM that’s unique, though, you can use a snapshot. Just be careful, because snapshots can only be used once.

Set Up User Authentication

Setting up user authentication is easy in a Linux VM. You can use Google Cloud Identity, GCP user accounts, or a third-party identity provider. Cloud identity is free and gives each VM a user account with a random email address. If you’d like to use an existing email address, however, GCP user accounts are the way to go. With GCP user accounts, you can create multiple user accounts and control access to the VM with OAuth. With a third-party identity provider, you can use the VM’s own account or a different account to log in. If you use a third-party identity provider, you’ll need to enable Cloud Identity and Google Cloud Logging.

Create a Storage Container and Storage Options

When you create your VM, you’ll also need to create a storage container and select a storage option. You can create a new storage container for each VM, or you can create a shared storage container that can be used by multiple VMs. Keep in mind that you’ll have to select a storage option that supports your storage needs. With standard storage, you can store up to 10 TB of data. With Nearline, you can store up to 15 TB of data, but it’s only available in certain regions. Coldline is the same as standard, but in certain regions, it supports up to 30 TB of data. And with Regional, you can store at least 50 TB of data.

Install Linux and Add Software

Installing Linux and adding software to your VM is pretty straightforward. From the VM instance in the Google Cloud Console, click on “VM instances”, then click “Install software” in the drop-down menu. From there, you can select “Install new software” and log in with your user credentials. You can then select the Linux distribution and version you want to install and type in any specific packages you want to add to the VM. Keep in mind that each VM comes with a default amount of disk space, and you can increase that amount if you need more space. Once you’ve installed the Linux software and added any additional software you want, you’re ready to go. You can create multiple VMs with different operating systems and architectures, as well as different software configurations, to accommodate different needs.

Conclusion

When you’re ready to get started with the Google Cloud Platform, it’s best to have a general understanding of its basics. From there, you can begin to decide what you need and how to set it up. Remember that each VM comes with a default amount of disk space, and you can increase that amount if you need more space. There are many benefits to using the Google Cloud Platform, including scalability and automatic upgrades. There are also many drawbacks to using the Google Cloud Platform, including high costs and the ability for Google to shut it down without warning. For example, if you use AWS, you know that Amazon will always be there. With Google Cloud Platform, there are no guarantees.

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