Google Kubernetes Engine

This guide demonstrates how to create a GKE cluster using any of the following options:

Create a GKE Cluster using The Google Cloud Console

The simplest way to create a GKE cluster is by using the Google Cloud Console, which acts as a web interface for GCP. Use the following steps to create a GKE cluster:

Once the cluster is created:

  • Go to, click the 3 dots to the right of the newly created cluster, and select Connect
    • Enable the Kubernetes API if not already enabled
  • Copy the command-line access command and run it on a local terminal. This command will configure kubectl config to access the newly created cluster.

Create a GKE Cluster using The Gcloud Command-Line Tool

GKE Clusters can also be created using Google's gcloud CLI. The gcloud CLI is included in their SDK, which can be installed by following instructions in Google's SDK installation docs.

GKE clusters are organized within Google Cloud Projects. The project name is used in several spots, so for the sake of simplicity this demo sets a PROJECT_ID variable to the name of the project used.

export PROJECT_ID=hello-kalm

This can be either an existing project or a new one. To create a new project, run the command below (the project name is set to "hello-kalm" in this example):

gcloud projects create $PROJECT_ID

In order to create a Kubernetes cluster on GCP billing must be enabled for that project. By default, new projects will not have billing enabled.

Additionally, projects need to specifically enable the Kubernetes Engine API, which can be done using the command below:

gcloud services enable

With billing and engine API enabled, the following commands will provision a cluster with 4 nodes (modify the zone as needed):

export M_TYPE=n1-standard-2 && \
export ZONE=us-west2-a && \
gcloud container clusters create $CLUSTER_NAME \
--cluster-version latest \
--machine-type=$M_TYPE \
--num-nodes 4 \
--zone $ZONE \
--project $PROJECT_ID

It will take a few minutes to create the cluster. Once complete, configure kubectl to use the new cluster:

gcloud container clusters get-credentials $CLUSTER_NAME \
--zone $ZONE \
--project $PROJECT_ID

Verify the cluster is properly setup and accessible.

kubectl cluster-info


Alternatively, the GKE Cluster can be created using Terraform. To use Terraform, first:

GKE clusters are organized within Google Cloud Projects. A new project can be created with:

gcloud projects create PROJECT-NAME-HERE

Use the gcloud init command and select the new (or existing) project (usage details here).

Terraform also requires access to the Application Default Credentials (ADC), which can be granted using the following command:

gcloud auth application-default login

The Kubernetes Engine API will need to be enabled for the project as well, which can be done using the following command:

gcloud services enable

Clone the repository below to download Kalm's installation scripts for Terraform.

git clone
cd terraform/gke

Open 'terraform.tfvars' in a text editor and specify the ID of the current Google Cloud project. The region can be specified as well.

# terraform.tfvars
project_id = "REPLACE_ME"
region = "us-west2"

With these settings configured, create the cluster by using the following commands:

terraform init
terraform apply

Type yes to confirm the installation.

The process should take around 5-10 minutes. Once complete, retrieve the name of the newly created cluster.

terraform output

Configure kubectl to use the new cluster.

gcloud container clusters get-credentials NAME_OF_YOUR_CLUSTER --zone ZONE_OF_CLUSTER
  • Note - identify the project's zone either on gcloud console or using the CLI by entering: gcloud info | grep "zone"

Verify the cluster is properly setup and accessible.

kubectl cluster-info

Next Step

To install Kalm onto the cluster, see Install Kalm Cloud.

Last updated on by Liu Mingmin