Create a user cluster in a virtual vSphere data center

This page shows how to create a user cluster that is in a different data center than the admin cluster.

As of GKE on VMware version 1.9, you can create admin and user clusters that have different vSphere datacenters. This document describes how you can use this public-preview feature.


Make sure that your admin workstation version is upgraded to 1.9 or above.

Step 1: Create a user cluster configuration file for the new user cluster

See Create a user cluster for more information about creating user clusters.

When you create a user cluster configuration file for the new user cluster, you must include the field vCenter.datacenter if you want it to be in a separate data center than the admin cluster. When you include the vCenter.datacenter field, then you must also include the vCenter.cluster, vCenter.datastore, and vCenter.networkName fields.

The field masterNode.vSphere.datastore is required if the admin cluster and user cluster are in separate virtual vSphere data centers. It is recommended that you create a separate datastore for each user cluster control plane in the admin cluster data center, so that the admin cluster control plane and the user cluster control planes have isolated datastore failure domains. Although you can use the admin cluster datastore for user control-plane nodes, that puts the user control-plane nodes and the admin cluster into the same datastore failure domain.

In this example, the admin cluster is in the ADMIN_DATACENTER, and the new user cluster is in the USER_DATACENTER.

apiVersion: v1
kind: UserCluster
# ...
gkeOnPremVersion: 1.9.0-gke.x
# ...
  datacenter: USER_DATACENTER # Required
  cluster: USER_CLUSTER # Required if resourcePool is not specified.
  folder: USER_FOLDER # Optional
  resourcePool: USER_RESOURCE_POOL # Required if cluster is not specified.
  datastore: USER_DATASTORE # Required
  credentials: # Optional
      entry: vCenter
    datastore: USER_MASTER_DATASTORE # Required.
    networkName: USER_NETWORK # Required

Step 2: Upload an OS image template

Next, run gkectl prepare to upload the OS image template to USER_DATACENTER.

gkectl prepare --kubeconfig ADMIN_KUBECONFIG --bundle-path BUNDLE_TARBALL --user-cluster-config USER_CLUSTER_CONFIG

Replace the following:

  • BUNDLE_TARBALL with the path to the 1.9.0-gke.x bundle tarball.
  • ADMIN_KUBECONFIG with the path of your admin cluster kubeconfig file.
  • USER_CLUSTER_CONFIG with the path of your user cluster configuration file.

Step 3: Create the user cluster in a separate data center

Run gkectl create to create the new user cluster in a separate data center. This command is the same as for the same data center as the admin cluster.

gkectl create cluster --kubeconfig ADMIN_KUBECONFIG --config USER_CLUSTER_CONFIG

Service accounts for the new user cluster

A user cluster can use a different vSphere service account, with different vCenter.credentials, from the admin cluster. The admin service account only needs access to the admin datacenter, while the user service account only needs access to the corresponding user datacenter.

Firewall Rules for the new user cluster

The admin cluster and the user cluster can use networkName in different VLANs and different datacenters. However, the following cross-VLAN communication must be allowed.

  • User nodes can access ports 443 and 8132 on the user control plane VIP address and get return packets from them.