Access Control

You can set access control using roles at the Cloud Platform project level. Assign a role to a Cloud Platform project member or service account to determine the level of access to your Google Cloud Platform project and its resources.

You can use primitive roles when you are working on smaller projects that have less complex needs. For more fine-tuned access controls, use Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles, which include the App Engine predefined roles. To learn more about IAM, see the IAM documentation.

For information on how to assign roles, see Granting Project Access.

For fine-grained details about which permissions are granted to the predefined IAM roles, down to the method call level, see Roles in the App Engine Admin API docs.

Primitive roles

For App Engine applications, a Cloud Platform project member's role also controls the permissible actions of the command-line tools that are used to deploy and manage applications.

Role Cloud Platform Console permissions Tools permissions
Owner All viewer and editor privileges, plus the ability to view deployed source code, invite users, change user roles, and delete an application. Has admin privileges to all resources in the project. Deploy application code, update indexes/queues/crons
Editor View application information and edit application settings. Has admin privileges to all resources in the project. Deploy application code, update indexes/queues/crons
Viewer View application information. Has admin privileges to all resources in the project. Request logs

Predefined App Engine roles

The predefined roles for App Engine provide you with finer grained options for access control. Each role is listed with its targeted user, as follows:

Role Capabilities Target User
App Engine Admin Read/Write/Modify access to all application configuration and settings.
  • Application owner/administrator
  • On-call engineer
  • sysadmin
App Engine Service Admin
  • Read-only access to all application configuration and settings.
  • Write access to service-level and version-level settings. Cannot deploy a new version.
  • Release engineer
  • DevOps
  • On-call engineer
  • Sys Admin
App Engine Deployer
  • Read-only access to all application configuration and settings.
  • Write access only to create a new version; cannot modify existing versions other than deleting versions that are not receiving traffic. Cannot migrate or split traffic to versions.
  • Deployment account
  • Release engineer
App Engine Viewer Read-only access to all application configuration and settings.
  • User needing visibility into application, but not to modify it.
  • Audit job checking App Engine configuration for policy compliance.
App Engine Code Viewer Read-only access to all application configuration, settings, and deployed source code.
  • User needing visibility into application and its source code, but not to modify it.
  • DevOps user needing to diagnose production issues.

Predefined roles comparison matrix

The following table provides a complete comparison of the capabilities of each predefined App Engine role.

Capability App Engine Admin App Engine Deployer App Engine Service Admin App Engine Viewer App Engine Code Viewer
List all services, versions and instances Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
View all application, service, version, and instance settings Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
View runtime metrics such as resource usage, load information, and error information Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
View application source code No No No No Yes
Deploy a new version of the application Yes Yes No No No
Split or migrate traffic Yes No Yes No No
Start and stop a version Yes No Yes No No
Delete a version Yes Yes Yes No No
Delete an entire service Yes No Yes No No
Shut down an instance Yes No No No No
Disable and re-enable an application Yes No No No No
Access handlers that have a login:admin restriction Yes No No No No
Update dispatch rules Yes No No No No
Update dos settings Yes No No No No
Update default cookie expiration Yes No No No No
Update referrers Yes No No No No
Update Email API Authorized Senders Yes No No No No

For details about the specific IAM permissions that are granted by each role, see the Roles section of the Admin API.

Deployments with predefined roles

The App Engine Deployer role is the recommended role to grant to the account that is responsible for deploying a new version of a service, although you could also deploy with the App Engine Admin role.

For instructions on how to deploy using the predefined IAM roles, see Deploying using IAM Roles

Separation of deployment and traffic routing duties

Many organizations prefer to separate the task of deploying an application version from the task of ramping up traffic to the newly created version, and to have these tasks done by different job functions. The Deployer and Service Admin roles enable this separation.

A user with only a Deployer role is limited to deploying new versions and deleting old versions that don’t have traffic routed to them. The Deployer-only user won’t be able to change which version gets traffic or change application-level settings such as dispatch rules or authentication domain.

The Service Admin role, on the other hand, cannot create a new version of the application or change application-level settings. However, it can change properties of existing services and versions, including changing which versions get traffic. We suggest granting the Service Admin role to your Operations/IT department that handles ramping up traffic to newly deployed versions.

Permissions the predefined roles do NOT grant

None of the predefined roles listed above grant access to the following:

  • View and download application logs
  • View Monitoring charts in the Cloud Platform Console
  • Enable and Disable billing
  • Set up a daily Spending Limit (formerly known as Budget) for App Engine and view dollar amount spent
  • SSH into a VM instance running in the flexible environment
  • View and edit custom domains and uploaded SSL certificates
  • Run Security Scans
  • Access configuration or data stored in Datastore, Task Queues, Memcache, Cloud Search or any other Cloud Platform storage product

We expect to control some of these features in the future by their own fine-grained roles.

Using service accounts

The App Engine application runs using the identity of the App Engine default service account. You can see this account on the IAM page in the Cloud Platform Console.

By default, the App Engine default service account has the Editor role in the project. This means that any user with sufficient permissions to deploy to App Engine can run code with read/write access to all resources within the project.

You can downgrade the default service account permissions in the project by changing its role from Editor to whichever role(s) best represent the access that the App Engine application needs.

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