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Google Announces New Features Making It Easier to Manage Windows Server VMs

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Recently Google announced several new features such as boot-screen diagnostics, auto-upgrade for Windows Server, new diagnostics tooling, and improved license reporting. Most of these updates are available in beta and intend to simplify troubleshooting problems, upgrading, and managing the license requirements of Windows workloads running on Google Cloud (GCP).

Currently, enterprises can run Windows workloads in Virtual Machines (VM) on the Compute Engine in the Google Cloud, or isolated on sole-tenant nodes, and have containerized applications for Windows run on the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). Furthermore, they can also choose to leverage SQL Server through Cloud SQL managed service and Microsoft Active Directory also through a managed service

One of the enterprises relying on the Google Cloud for modernizing their platform is Geotab, a leading provider of fleet management hardware and software. In a Google blog post on Geotab modernizing applications with Google Cloud, the author Patrick McClafferty, associate vice president, DevOps, wrote:

After migrating all customers, we estimate that we will see double the monthly cost savings we are currently seeing as a result of reduced licensing and infrastructure costs, saving over 50% of our software licensing fees on the MyGeotab platform.

The public cloud vendor continues its investments for enterprises running their Windows workloads on GCP by adding more features and an improved licensing reporting tool.

In the announcement blog post, the author Venkat Gattamneni, product manager at Google, describes three new features in beta:

  • Boot-screen diagnostics: users can capture boot-screen screenshots without having to RDP into the machine and thus is useful for diagnosing issues when VMs are not otherwise accessible, for instance, when the VM tries to start with a corrupted disk image.
  • Auto-upgrade for Windows 2008: users can perform an in-place auto-upgrade using a single gcloud command - which backs up a current VM, performs the upgrade and handles roll-backs automatically if something fails. 
  • Collect diagnostic information: users can leverage a new diagnostic tool for Windows VMs, which collects all the necessary information – helpful to either troubleshoot the issue or provide the necessary diagnostic information to Support.  

 
Source: https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/windows/new-management-tools-for-windows-running-on-google-cloud

And next to the beta features, Google also made a new licencing reporting tool called IAP Desktop, available when running Windows workloads on sole-tenant nodes. The tool runs in a Windows environment, ingests log data, and outputs graphical results and reports to users. 

Lastly, Gattamneni stated in the announcement blog post that Google would continue to work on improvements for its platform to make it the best platform to migrate, optimize, and modernize your Windows workloads, all with enterprise-class, Microsoft-backed support.

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