Image creation (Windows-specific)
I can’t speak for Linux images – though comment on the web and on this forum suggests that it’s similar – but Windows image creation on GCE is horrible compared to AWS.
In AWS it’s 3 mouse clicks plus typing in a name. In GCE, the instance which is the source of the image has to be permanently destroyed, and there’s a need to manually run the gcesysprep utility. Putting the cherry on the cake, the gcesysprep undoes various system changes which are a common feature of Windows administration. For example, we turn off automatic installation of Windows updates – because we don’t want servers restarting themselves without notice – and we rename the administrator account. The gcesysprep trashes both of these changes. We’ve now found how to avoid this, and how to generate a Windows image on GCE which works the way we want and is a true image of the machine which created it, but it was a painful learning curve, and it remains much more cumbersome than image-creation on AWS.
Thanks for your frank and detailed feedback. I believe we’ve made some improvements since the time of your post, but nonetheless we are evaluating how we can simplify this further.