Version 1.5. This version is no longer supported as outlined in the Anthos version support policy. For the latest patches and updates for security vulnerabilities, exposures, and issues impacting Anthos clusters on VMware (GKE on-prem), upgrade to a supported version. You can find the most recent version here.

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-premises environment.

With Connect, you can view and sign in to your on-premises and on-cloud Kubernetes clusters from the same interface in the 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 Anthos.

Installing GKE on-prem

Before you install GKE on-prem, you create an admin workstation virtual machine (VM) instance in your vSphere environment. You then use the admin workstation to install GKE on-prem.


GKE on-prem includes an admin cluster and one or more user clusters, as well as 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
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 cluster control plane. The admin cluster's control plane includes the Kubernetes API server, the scheduler, and several controllers for the admin cluster.

  • User cluster 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.

  • Add-ons. The admin cluster runs several Kubernetes add-ons, like Grafana, Prometheus, and Google Cloud's operations suite. GKE on-prem launches add-ons on different admin cluster nodes than other control plane components.

Note that user control planes are managed by the admin cluster. They run on nodes in the admin cluster, not in the user clusters. In addition, nodes in the admin cluster run GKE on-prem components. User workloads do not run in the admin cluster.

User cluster

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


To learn about GKE on-prem versions, see Version history.

Additional Anthos components

With GKE on-prem, you can also use the following Anthos components:

What's next