Google Cloud Platform gcloud SDK

There is no way I can detail even 1% about how to use this tool, but I can tell you how I use it to get you started. Google released the gcloud SDK to control every aspect of Google Cloud Platform.

The Google cloud site is a good place to start learning, but this should get you started fairly quickly.

Installation Windows:

Installation is fairly easy, and only takes a couple steps.

Navigate to Just run the application like any other install in windows, there is nothing hidden that will give you grief. Local admin privileges are not needed on any OS once you authenticate with google.

Installation Linux:

By default gcloud and gsutil are installed on all servers right off the bat when created. If you need to install it on an offsite machine, navigate to here, then just

tar -xvf google-cloud-sdk*.tar.gz
cd google-cloud-sdk
setup will be interactive

configuration is fairly easy, once you install the SDK.
gcloud init launches an interactive Getting Started workflow for gcloud. It replaces gcloud auth login as the recommended command to execute after you install the Cloud SDK. gcloud init performs the following setup steps:

  • Authorizes gcloud and other SDK tools to access Google Cloud Platform using your user account credentials, or lets you select from accounts whose credentials are already available. gcloud init uses the same browser-based authorization flow as gcloud auth login.

  • Sets properties in a gcloud configuration, including the current project and the default Google Compute Engine region and zone.
    Most users run gcloud init to get started with gcloud. You can use subsequent gcloud init invocations to create new gcloud configurations or to reinitialize existing configurations.

  • Properties set by gcloud init are local and persistent. They are not affected by remote changes to your project. For instance, the default Compute Engine zone in your configuration remains stable, even if you or another user changes the project-level default zone in the Cloud Platform Console. You can resync your configuration at any time by rerunning gcloud init.

(Available since version 0.9.79. Run $ gcloud –version to see which version you are running.)

gcloud init
Will launch a browser on your local workstation for you to authenticate, just like you do for GMail.

Getting started

One thing I cannot recommend enough is running the following line of code once authenticated, It will set a default zone to use for your commands. us-central1-a is located here in Council Bluffs, IA. If you skip this step, if you do not specify a zone, it will ask EVERY command.

gcloud config set compute/zone $zone
Lets try a couple commands now that you are authenticated:

List instances

Sometimes you just need to know the IP address of a machine, keep note machines located in a zone other than us-central1-a you will need to specify which zone the machine is located in, if you don't, don't worry! It will ask!

gcloud compute instances list
NAME                           ZONE          MACHINE_TYPE              PREEMPTIBLE INTERNAL_IP EXTERNAL_IP     STATUS
ubuntu-server                  us-east1-c    n1-standard-1                                TERMINATED
buckets-n-backups              us-central1-a g1-small                      x.x.x.x TERMINATED
grafana                        us-central1-a f1-micro                     x.x.x.x  RUNNING

SSH to instance, no keys required

[justin@justin-nix ~]$gcloud compute ssh jackal
Warning: Permanently added 'x.x.x.x' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
Last login: Wed Jun 29 01:50:09 2016 from x.x.x.x
[justin@local-pc ~]$

Copying files to instances:

Copying files from offsite to the cloud

Getting files to the cloud machines can be tricky, but there are a few ways to do it! If you need to directly access a machine offsite you can add your ssh key to the servers you need.

[justin@justin-nix ~]$ gcloud compute copy-files testfile.txt machine-name:/home/justin

and look... there it is:

[justin@jackal ~]$ pwd
[justin@jackal ~]$ ls -lth

-rw-rw-r--  1 justin justin    0 Jun 29 19:04 testfile.txt
Working with machines across datacenters:

Sometimes you need to set a machine to be close to your clients for one reason or another. Sometimes it is nice to access a one-off machine using gcloud, without modifing your defaults for the app.

It's easy!

$ gcloud compute machine-name --project (project-name) --zone (zone-name)
gcloud compute ghost-web1 --zone us-central-1a --project jello-shots-1123

will log you in to the machine if your user has project access.

$ gcloud projects list

✔ 15:44 justinpc ~ 1.109s
$ gcloud projects list

PROJECT_ID                         NAME                           PROJECT_NUMBER
hallowed-scene-xxxx                My First Project               xxxxxxxxxxxx  API Project                    xxxxxxxxxxxx
virtual-cluster-xxxx               Cloud Buildout                 xxxxxxxxxxxx
virtual-cluster-xxxx               virtual-cluster                xxxxxxxxxxxx
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