Deploying containers

This page explains how to deploy a container image to a Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) cluster where Binary Authorization is enabled. The commands you use to deploy the image are the same as the ones you use to deploy images to clusters that do not use Binary Authorization.

Before you begin

Make sure you have the Binary Authorization API enabled in your project and a GKE cluster with Binary Authorization enabled. See setting up on Google Kubernetes Engine or Setting up on Anthos clusters on VMware.

Install kubectl for interacting with GKE.

Configure kubectl

You must update the local kubeconfig file for your kubectl installation. This provides the credentials and endpoint information required to access the cluster in GKE.

To configure kubectl:

gcloud container clusters get-credentials \
    --zone ZONE \


  • ZONE is the name of the GKE zone where the cluster is running (for example, us-central1-a1)
  • CLUSTER_NAME is the name of the cluster

Deploy the container image

You can deploy your image using the kubectl run command.

You must deploy the image using the digest rather than a tag like 1.0 or latest, as Binary Authorization will use both the image path and digest to look up attestations.

To deploy the image:

kubectl run ${POD_NAME} \
    --image ${IMAGE_PATH}@${IMAGE_DIGEST} --port 8080


  • POD_NAME is the name you want to use for the GKE workload
  • IMAGE_PATH: path of the image in Container Registry or another registry (for example,
  • IMAGE_DIGEST: the digest of the image manifest. For example, sha256:37e5287945774f27b418ce567cd77f4bbc9ef44a1bcd1a2312369f31f9cce567 is the image digest associated with the example image path. To learn how to get the digest of an image in Artifact Registry, see Managing images; for an image in Container Registry, see Listing the versions of an image.

Override a policy

Binary Authorization supports a feature known as break-glass that lets you override the policy when you deploy a container image. This feature is implemented in way consistent with recommendations in the Kubernetes admission controller specification.

The following example shows how to create a GKE pod using break-glass to override a policy:

  1. Create a configuration file in YAML format. This file contains the break-glass annotation as well as other information required to create the pod:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Pod
      name: pod-name
      annotations: "true"
      - name: container-name

    GKE also allows you to specify a configuration for new resources using JSON format if you so choose.

  2. Create the pod using kubectl:

    kubectl create -f YAML_file

Verify that an image is running

To verify that the image is running, enter the following:

kubectl get pods

The command prints a message similar to the following, which indicates that the image was successfully deployed.

NAME                            READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
hello-server-579859fb5b-h2k8s   1/1       Running   0          1m

View audit logs

For more information on viewing enforcement status and deployment messages in Cloud Logging, see Viewing audit logs.