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In October 2016 Google heralded the arrival of Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise support to its cloud platform and now the company has announced its release, along with other new Windows VMs for the Google Cloud Platform.

The company has introduced support for the Windows Server Core, the SQL Server Always-On Availability Group, and the persistent disk snapshots integrated with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) on Windows Server.

In addition, Google has announced that all Windows Server images are now enabled with Windows Remote Management support, including their Windows Server Core 2016 and 2012 R2 images.

In practical terms, this means that IT pros can now launch pre-configured virtual machines running any of these products on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and pay for them by the minute. Alternatively, they can bring an existing SQL Server license they have already paid for to Google’s cloud platform.

According to Lead product manager for Google Cloud developer, Chris Sells, this release is part of a broader strategy supporting Windows products on GCP. Sells points out that with the introduction of these Windows VMs, Google provides an alternative for companies that don’t want to be tied to Microsoft but still need to use Microsoft products.

Here is a list of the new additions to the Google Cloud Platform:

  • You can now launch Compute Engine VMs with Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition pre-installed, and pay by the minute for SQL Server Enterprise and Windows Server licenses. Customers can also choose to bring their own licenses for SQL Server Enterprise.
  • Mission-critical SQL Server workloads require support for high-availability and disaster recovery. To achieve this, GCP supports Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) and SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups.
  • Being able to take snapshots in coordination with Volume Shadow Copy Service ensures that you get application-consistent snapshots for persistent disks attached to an instance running Windows — without having to shut it down. This feature is useful when you want to take a consistent backup for VSS-enabled applications like SQL Server and Exchange Server — without affecting the workload running on the VMs.