Version 1.5. This version is supported as outlined in the Anthos version support policy, offering the latest patches and updates for security vulnerabilities, exposures, and issues impacting Anthos clusters on VMware (GKE on-prem). Refer to the release notes for more details. This is not the most recent version.

Creating a user cluster (basic)

This page shows how to create a user cluster.

The steps in this topic are written with the assumption that you used gkeadm to create your admin workstation. If you did not use gkeadm, but instead followed the steps in Creating an admin workstation with a static IP address, then you need to make some adjustments as you go through this topic. The individual steps explain any needed adjustments.

If you are behind a proxy, all gkectl commands automatically use the same proxy that you set in your configuration file for Internet requests from the admin workstation. If your admin workstation is not located behind the same proxy, refer to the "Manual proxy options" in the following advanced Creating an admin workstation topics:

SSH into your admin workstation

SSH into your admin workstation by following the instructions in Getting an SSH connection to your admin workstation.

Your component access service account is activated on your admin workstation. Do all the remaining steps in this topic on your admin workstation.

Configuring static IPs for your user cluster

To specify the static IP addresses that you want to use for your user cluster, create an IP block file named user-cluster-ipblock.yaml. For this exercise, you need to specify three IP addresses to be used by the user cluster.

The following is an example of an IP block file with three hosts:

  - netmask:
    - ip:
      hostname: user-host1
    - ip:
      hostname: user-host2
    - ip:
      hostname: user-host3

The ips field is an array of IP addresses and hostnames. These are the IP addresses and hostnames that GKE on-prem will assign to your user cluster nodes.

In the IP block file, you also specify the addresses of the DNS servers, time servers, and default gateway that the user cluster nodes will use.

The searchdomainsfordns field is an array of DNS search domains to use in the cluster. These domains are used as part of a domain search list.

Populated fields in your configuration file

Recall that when you created your admin workstation, you filled in a configuration file named admin-ws-config.yaml. The gkeadm command-line tool used your admin-ws-config.yaml file to create the admin workstation.

When gkeadm created your admin workstation, it generated another configuration file nameduser-cluster.yaml. This configuration file, which is on your admin workstation, is for creating your user cluster.

The admin-ws-config.yaml and user-cluster.yaml files have several fields in common. The values for those common fields are already populated in your user-cluster.yaml file.

These are the fields that are already populated with values that you provided when you created your admin workstation:


Filling in the rest of your configuration file

Next you need to fill in the remaining fields in your user-cluster.yaml file.


String. A name of your choice for your user cluster. For example:

name: "my-user-cluster"


String. The GKE on-prem version for your user cluster. For example:

gkeOnPremVersion: "1.5.2-gke.3"


String. Set this to "static".

    type: "static"


String. Because you are using static IP addresses, you must have an IP block file as described in Configuring static IPs. Set network.ipBlockFilePath to the path of your IP block file. For example:

    ipBlockFilePath: "/my-config-directory/user-cluster-ipblock-.yaml"

network.serviceCIDR and network.podCiDR

Strings. The user cluster must have a range of IP addresses to use for Services and a range of IP addresses to use for Pods. These ranges are specified by the network.serviceCIDR and network.podCIDR fields. These fields are populated with default values. If you like, you can change the populated values to values of your choice.

The Service and Pod ranges must not overlap. Also, the Service and Pod ranges must not overlap with IP addresses that are used for nodes in any cluster.


  serviceCIDR: ""
  podCIDR: ""


String. The name of the vSphere network for your cluster nodes.

If the name contains a special character, you must use an escape sequence for it.

Special characters Escape sequence
Slash (/) %2f
Backslash (\) %5c
Percent sign (%) %25

If the network name is not unique, it is possible to specify a path to the network, such as /DATACENTER/network/NETWORK_NAME.

For example:

    networkName: "MY-CLUSTER-NETWORK"


Strings. Set the value of loadBalancer.vips.controlPlaneVIP to The IP address that you have chosen to configure on the load balancer for the Kubernetes API server of the user cluster. Set the value of loadBalancer.vips.ingressVIP to the IP address you have chosen to configure on the load balancer for the ingress service in your user cluster. For example:

    controlplaneVIP: ""
    ingressVIP: ""


String. Set this to "Seesaw". For example:

  kind: "Seesaw"


String. Set this to the path of the IP block file for your Seesaw VM. For example:

    ipBlockFilePath: "user-seesaw-ipblock.yaml"


Integer. The virtual router identifier of your Seesaw VM. This identifier must be unique in a VLAN. Valid range is 1-255. For example:

    vrid: 126


String. The control plane IP address for the Seesaw VM. For example:

    masterIP: ""


Integer. The number of CPUs for your Seesaw VM. For example:

    cpus: 8


Integer. The number of megabytes of memory for your Seesaw VM. For example:

    memoryMB: 8192


Boolean. Set this to false. For example:

    enableHA: false

String. A name of your choice for a node pool. For example:

- name: "my-user-pool"


Integer. The number of VMs in your node pool. Set this to 3.

- name: "my-user-pool"
  replicas: 3


String. The Google Cloud region where you want to store logs. It is a good idea to choose a region that is near your on-prem data center.


Boolean. Set stackdriver.enableVPC to true if you have your cluster's network controlled by a VPC. This ensures that all telemetry flows through Google's restricted IP addresses. Otherwise, set this to false. For example:

  enableVPC: false

Additional fields in the configuration file

The GKE on-prem configuration file has several fields in addition to the ones shown in this topic. For example, you can use the manuallbspec field to configure GKE on-prem to run in manual load balancing mode.

For a complete description of the fields in the configuration file, see Installing using DHCP and Installing using static IP addresses.

Validating the configuration file

After you've modified the configuration file, run gkectl check-config to verify that the file is valid and can be used for installation:

gkectl check-config --kubeconfig [ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG] --config [CONFIG_FILE]


  • [ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG] is the path of the kubeconfig file for your admin cluster.

  • [CONFIG_FILE] is the path of your user cluster configuration file. For example, user-cluster.yaml.

If the command returns any FAILURE messages, you must first fix the issues and validate the file again.

If you want to skip the more time-consuming validations, pass the --fast flag. To skip individual validations, use the --skip-validation-xxx flags. To learn more about the check-config command, see Running preflight checks.

Creating your load balancer

Create and configure the VM for your Seesaw load balancer:

gkectl create loadbalancer --kubeconfig [ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG] --config [CONFIG_FILE]


  • [ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG] is the path of the kubeconfig file for your admin cluster.

  • [CONFIG_FILE] is the path of your user cluster configuration file.

Creating the user cluster

Create your user cluster::

gkectl create cluster --kubeconfig [ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG] --config [CONFIG_FILE]


  • [ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG] is the path of the kubeconfig file for your admin cluster.

  • [CONFIG_FILE] is the path of your user cluster configuration file.