DevOps Blog - Nicolas Paris

Headless Linux with Google Compute Engine Desktop


UPDATE: I now use terraform to reduce the cost of SSD with a snapshot and automatic deployment. mode details here

This is my first try to setup a headless remote desktop on google cloud compute engine.

Why ?

What it's look like

This is what we talking about, xfce in google cloud compute engine desktop.

headless desktop

Here's my choices

It's been a week with, seems fine.

Google App or website ?

What about the client, There is a difference between the app and the remote desktop website, the website take much more bandwidth.

Note a weird behavior whit alt-gr key, need to press a longer time that usual, useful for | @ ... in french keyboard.
Also need to be activated in keyboard setup as seen on several stack overflow posts.

About the bandwidth, the website act like he need to send a lot every time, the app send just what it's needed.
I'm not playing games, I almost just write. Write code, command line instructions in terminal,
blog post in sublime text that's mean 99.9% of the screen doesn't change 99% of the time, even if I was the fastest coder in the world.

What's the cost of it ?

That's around of 5$/mo for HHD, 11$/mo for SSD.

I'll come back here once I'll get more insight about cost.
Now, I'm using a SSD, but paying only when the computer is on with Terraform: mode details here

Update 01/05/2019,

HHD is a bit slow when coding with PhpStorm, but 50Go of SSD is costy. I'm trying a 20Go SSD and changed xfce for cinammon. Cinammon take more CPU resources than xfce, so I'm trying the n1-standard-8 instead, still in preemptible mode for cost reasons.

The cost would be 11.50$ with the same 3 hours per day average basis.

Update 15/05/2019

Update 01/06/2019

I just bought myself a chromebook, an acer R13, this was the original
idea, a powerful headless with a light frontend terminal. It works fine
but I haven't done some serious coding sessions yet.

Update 06/01/2022

Is still a very good solution for afordable computer. For game purpose, it can work, you can setup a GPU even preemptible. One thing to considere is the bandwith that can
become the first expense. Games has pixels that refresh fast, meaning important egress costs to considere. For occasionnaly users, it still can be a good deal,
I don't mind spending few bucks to have a game desktop accessible from everywhere. It depends as usual.
Example price: for 2 hours, 1€, 3/4 of the price was for bandwith.