GKE on VMware overview

GKE on VMware is software that brings Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to on-premises data centers. With GKE on VMware, 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 VMware runs in your data center in a vSphere environment. vSphere is VMware's server virtualization software. GKE on VMware uses VMware's vCenter Server to manage your clusters.

Getting GKE on VMware

GKE on VMware is a core component of GKE Enterprise.

Installing GKE on VMware

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


An GKE on VMware installation includes an admin cluster, one or more user clusters, and an admin workstation. An Anthos clusters on VMware cluster's virtual machines (VMs) are all in the same vSphere cluster. Anthos clusters on VMware clusters can be in the same or different vSphere clusters.

Diagram describing GKE on VMware's architecture when one user control plane is deployed
GKE on VMware architecture with one user control plane (click to enlarge)

Admin cluster

The admin cluster is the base layer of GKE on VMware. It runs the following GKE on VMware 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 Observability. GKE on VMware 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 VMware 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 VMware versions, see Version history.

Additional GKE Enterprise components

With GKE on VMware, you can also use the following GKE Enterprise components:

What's next