GKE on-prem overview

GKE on-prem is hybrid cloud software that brings Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to on-premises data centers. With GKE on-prem, you can create, manage, and upgrade Kubernetes clusters in your on-prem environment. With Connect, you can view and sign in to your on-premises and on-cloud Kubernetes clusters from the same interface in Google Cloud console.

GKE on-prem runs in your data center in a vSphere 6.5 or 6.7 Update 3 environment. vSphere is VMware's server virtualization software. GKE on-prem uses VMware's vCenter Server to manage your clusters.

Getting GKE on-prem

GKE on-prem is a core component of GKE Enterprise.

Installing GKE on-prem

Before you install GKE on-prem, you create an admin workstation VM in your vSphere environment. Then you use the admin workstation to install GKE on-prem.


In GKE on-prem, there is an admin cluster and one or more user clusters. There is also an admin workstation VM. All of these VMs run in a single vSphere cluster.

Diagram describing GKE on-prem's architecture when one user control plane is deployed
Figure: GKE on-prem architecture with one user control plane. (Click to enlarge)

Admin cluster

The admin cluster is the base layer of GKE on-prem. It runs the following GKE on-prem components:

  • Admin control plane: The admin control plane includes the Kubernetes API server, the scheduler, and several controllers for the admin cluster. The machine that runs the admin control plane is called the admin master.

  • User control planes: For each user cluster, the admin cluster has a node that runs the control plane for the user cluster. The control plane includes the Kubernetes API server, the scheduler, and several controllers for the user cluster. A machine that runs a user control plane is called a user master.

  • Add-ons: The admin cluster runs several Kubernetes add-ons, like Grafana, Prometheus, and Google Cloud's operations suite. Add-ons run on one or more VMs that are separate from the VMs that runs the control planes.

Note that user control planes are managed by the admin cluster. They run on nodes in the admin cluster, not in the user clusters themselves.

User cluster

User clusters are where you deploy and run your containerized workloads and services.


To learn about GKE on-prem versions, see Versions.

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