New admin tool: Centrally manage VMs in the Google cloud

Google simply calls its new administration environment for virtual machines in Compute Engine – its own cloud platform GCP – the VM Manager. System administrators should be able to keep an eye on Windows and Linux systems and the applications running on them in a dashboard.

One of the functions included is patch management. On the one hand, it can be used to provide updates for operating systems and applications centrally and distribute them to VM groups. In addition, the software checks the update status of all managed VMs; A desired patch level can be specified as well as the time of its installation.

In Configuration Management, the required application packages can be made available on the systems using guest policies. For example, the administrator can specify which software the VM should install from a repository. If the desired application is not available there, the system can alternatively download the necessary files according to a previously created scheme, unzip archives and start scripts for the installation and the correct settings.

The inventory management collects information about the operating system, installed packages and updates. It’s also linked to Google’s Cloud Asset Inventory, which stores data on resources – VMs, cloud storage buckets, and app engine instances – as well as policies in a database. In this way, the changes of the last five weeks can be tracked centrally.

An overview of the VM Manager and its three management components can be found in the documentation. Google is currently introducing many new features for GCP. Just yesterday, software developers received Dialogflow CX and Eventarc.

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