Serving 1 million requests per second using Compute Engine sure is awesome. But what about scaling in the other direction and serving more than one website from the same instance? A handy new feature called Protocol Forwarding makes this possible on Compute Engine. It enables you to attach multiple Internet IP addresses to an instance. This way you can configure your webserver to host content that belong to different sites, even with SSL.

Protocol Forwarding is a new addition to Compute Engine's growing collection of forwarding capabilities (including Layer-3 Load Balancing). In addition to attaching multiple Internet IP addresses to a single instance without network address translation (NAT), it can also forward select IP protocols to the virtual machine instances. The supported protocols are TCP, UDP, SCTP and IPSec (ESP/AH). A sharp-eyed reader can tell that, when used together with advanced routing, Protocol Forwarding simplifies the virtual private network (VPN) setup that connects your outside servers to Compute Engine network.

Protocol Forwarding and Load Balancing share many of the same underpinnings, including the same top-level API resource called Forwarding Rules. The best way to learn how to use it is to follow the quickstart guide. Upon completion, you should have a web server on a single instance hosting three different websites with three different Internet IP addresses.

Pricing for Protocol Forwarding is the same as Layer-3 Load Balancing. In fact, you can enjoy both features at no cost until the end of January, 2014. Please read more about pricing and promotion details.

On behalf of the Google Cloud Platform team, I wish everyone a productive and rewarding 2014!

-Posted by Gary Ling, Product Manager