Common gcloud compute commands

This document lists some of the most commonly used gcloud compute commands.

Before you begin

Describing projects

Run the following command to query information about your Compute Engine project, such as project metadata, ssh keys, and quota metrics:

 gcloud compute project-info describe

For more information about describing your project, see the gcloud compute project-info describe reference documentation.

Working with VMs

The following examples show common tasks when working with virtual machine (VM) instances. For more information about virtual machine (VM) instances, see Virtual machine instances.

Creating VMs

Run the following command to create a VM:

gcloud compute instances create VM_NAME \
    [--image IMAGE | --image-family IMAGE_FAMILY] \
    --image-project IMAGE_PROJECT

Replace the following:

  • VM_NAME: the name of the new VM.
  • IMAGE or IMAGE_FAMILY: Specify one of the following:
    • IMAGE: required version of a public image. For example, --image debian-10-buster-v20200309.
    • IMAGE_FAMILY: an image family. This creates the VM from the most recent, non-deprecated OS image. For example, if you specify --image-family debian-10, Compute Engine creates a VM from the latest version of the OS image in the Debian 10 image family.
  • IMAGE_PROJECT: the project containing the image.

For more information about creating VMs, see Creating and starting a VM instance and the gcloud compute instances create reference documentation.

Listing VMs

Run the following command to display all VMs in a project:

gcloud compute instances list

For more information about listing VMs, see the gcloud compute instances list reference documentation.

Describing VMs

Run the following command to display all data associated with a VM:

gcloud compute instances describe VM_NAME

Replace VM_NAME with the name of the VM.

For more information about describing VMs, see the gcloud compute instances describe reference documentation.

Starting VMs

Run the following command to start a stopped VM:

gcloud compute instances start VM_NAME

Replace VM_NAME with the name of the VM.

For more information about starting VMs, see Starting and stopping an instance and the gcloud compute instances start reference documentation.

Stopping VMs

Run the following command to stop a VM:

gcloud compute instances stop VM_NAME

Replace VM_NAME with the name of the VM.

For more information about stopping VMs, see Starting and stopping an instance and the gcloud compute instances stop reference documentation.

Adding labels to VMs

Run the following command to add labels to VMs:

gcloud compute instances add-labels VM_NAME \
    --label=KEY=VALUE

Replace the following:

  • VM_NAME: the name of the VM.
  • KEY=VALUE: the key-value pair of the label.

For more information about labeling VMs, see Labeling resources and the gcloud compute instances add-labels reference documentation.

Connecting to VMs

Using SSH to connect to instances

Run the following command to connect to a VM using SSH:

gcloud compute ssh VM_NAME

Replace VM_NAME with the name of the VM.

For more information about connecting to VMs using SSH, see Connecting to Linux VMs and the gcloud compute ssh reference documentation.

Using SCP to transfer files to instances

Run the following command to copy files to a VM:

gcloud compute scp LOCAL_FILE_PATH VM_NAME:REMOTE_DIRECTORY

Run the following command to copy files from a VM:

gcloud compute scp VM_NAME:REMOTE_DIRECTORY LOCAL_FILE_PATH

Replace the following:

  • LOCAL_FILE_PATH: The path to the file on your workstation.
  • VM_NAME: The name of your VM.
  • REMOTE_DIRECTORY: The path to the directory on your VM.

For more information about transferring files to and from VMs using SCP, see Transferring files using the gcloud command-line tool and the gcloud compute scp reference documentation.

Working with disks

The following example shows a common task when working with disks. For more information about disks, see Storage options.

Listing disks

Run the following command to display all disks in a project:

gcloud compute disks list

For more information about listing disks, see the gcloud compute disks list reference documentation.

Working with snapshots

The following examples show common tasks when working with snapshots. For more information about snapshots, see Persistent disk snapshots.

Listing snapshots

Run the following command to display all snapshots in a project:

gcloud compute snapshots list

For more information about describing snapshots, see the gcloud compute snapshots list reference documentation.

Describing snapshots

Run the following command to display all data associated with a snapshot:

gcloud compute snapshots describe SNAPSHOT_NAME

Replace SNAPSHOT_NAME with the name of the snapshot.

For more information about describing snapshots, see the gcloud compute snapshots describe reference documentation.

Deleting snapshots

Run the following command to delete a snapshot:

gcloud compute snapshots delete SNAPSHOT_NAME

Replace SNAPSHOT_NAME with the name of the snapshot.

For more information about deleting snapshots, see Deleting a snapshot and the gcloud compute snapshots delete reference documentation.

Working with firewall rules

The following examples show common tasks when working with firewall rules. For more information about firewall rules, see VPC firewall rules overview.

Describing firewall rules

Run the following command to display all data associated with a firewall rule:

gcloud compute firewall-rules describe FIREWALL_RULE_NAME

Replace FIREWALL_RULE_NAME with the name of the firewall rule.

For more information about describing firewall rules, see the gcloud compute firewall-rules describe reference documentation.

Creating firewall rules

Run the following command to create a firewall rule:

gcloud compute firewall-rules create FIREWALL_RULE_NAME \
    [--allow=PROTOCOL:PORT | --action=ACTION --rules=PROTOCOL:PORT]

Specify either --allow or --action and --rules, and replace the following:

  • FIREWALL_RULE_NAME: the name of the firewall rule.
  • ACTION: the action on match. Either allow or deny.
  • PROTOCOL:PORT: the protocol and port whose traffic will be affected by the firewall rule.

For more information about creating firewall rules, see Creating firewall rules and the gcloud compute firewall-rules create reference documentation.

Working with managed instances groups (MIGs)

The following examples show common tasks when working with MIGs. For more information about MIGs, see Managed instance groups (MIGs).

Creating managed instance groups

Run the following command to create a MIG:

gcloud compute instance-groups managed create INSTANCE_GROUP_NAME \
    --size=SIZE \
    --template=INSTANCE_TEMPLATE

Replace the following:

  • INSTANCE_GROUP_NAME: the name for this instance group
  • SIZE: the size of the instance group
  • INSTANCE_TEMPLATE: the name of the instance template to use for this group

For more information about creating MIGs, see Creating a managed instance groups and the gcloud compute instance-groups managed create reference documentation.

Setting autoscaling

Run the following command to set autoscaling on a MIG, based on CPU utilization:

gcloud compute instance-groups managed set-autoscaling INSTANCE_GROUP_NAME \
    --max-num-replicas=MAX_NUM_REPLICAS \
    --target-cpu-utilization=TARGET_CPU_UTILIZATION

Replace the following:

  • INSTANCE_GROUP_NAME: the name of a MIG
  • MAX_NUM_REPLICAS: the maximum number of replicas the autoscaler can create
  • TARGET_CPU_UTILIZATION: the CPU level the autoscaler should maintain, between 0.0 and 1.0

For more information about setting autoscaling, see Autoscaling groups of instances and the gcloud compute instance-groups managed set-autoscaling reference documentation.

Working with metadata

The following example shows a common task when working with metadata. For more information about metadata, see Storing and retrieving metadata.

Adding project-level metadata

Run the following command to add metadata to your project:

gcloud compute project-info add-metadata VM_NAME \
    --metadata=KEY=VALUE,[KEY=VALUE]

Replace the following:

  • VM_NAME: the name of the VM
  • KEY=VALUE: the metadata key-value pair

For more information about adding metadata to VMs, see Setting project-wide custom metadata and the gcloud compute project-info add-metadata reference documentation.

Adding instance-level metadata

Run the following command to add metadata to a VM:

gcloud compute instances add-metadata VM_NAME \
    --metadata=KEY=VALUE,[KEY=VALUE]

Replace the following:

  • VM_NAME: the name of the VM
  • KEY=VALUE: the metadata key-value pair

For more information about adding metadata to VMs, see Setting instance metadata and the gcloud compute instances add-metadata reference documentation.

Getting help pages

The following commands show how to access different types of help, from general help about the gcloud computecommand, to specific help about a resource group (instances) or a command (create). Comprehensive help for all resources and commands follows this pattern:

gcloud compute --help
gcloud compute instances --help
gcloud compute instances create --help

Quick help can be obtained by using the -h flag instead of the --help flag. You can also review all of the comprehensive help at Cloud SDK Reference.

For comprehensive help with commands specifically for configuring the gcloud tool, run:

gcloud topic TOPIC

Replace TOPIC with the topic you want help with. For a list of topics you can get help for, see the gcloud topic reference documentation.

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