And, bam! Here’s Google Compute Engine

Drum roll, please. Google Compute Engine is now available to everyone, not just those who pay $400 per month for Google Gold support. (Update: Actually, it turns out folks can sign up for GCE starting at 6 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.)

Google Compute Engine logoNotably, Google(s goog) will offer its resources in sub-hour increments — something that public cloud kingpin Amazon(s amzn) Web Services does not support (although other providers like Cloud Sigma and Profitbricks do). Users don’t have to buy a whole hour of an instance, but can buy instances by the minute with a 10-minute minimum, Google SVP Urs Hölzle, said in a Google I/O 2013 session Wednesday afternoon.

Other perks, per Hölzle’s blog post:

  • Shared-core instances provide smaller instance shapes for low-intensity workloads.
  • Advanced Routing features help you create gateways and VPN servers that enable you to build applications spanning your local network and Google’s cloud
  • Large persistent disks support up to 10 terabytes per volume, which translates to 10X the industry standard

Hölzle also noted that Google will offer 10TB persistent disks, something an “unnamed cloud competitor” does not offer after seven years in business. As some expected, Google also announced PHP support for Google App Engine (GAE).

Google announced GCE at last year’s event in June, and started opening up access to select users a few months later. Last month, it let Google Gold customers in.

The ecosystem is getting ready too: MongoLab announced support for the Google cloud platform.

This story was updated at 1:47 p.m. PDT to update availability information.