View Compute Engine operations

When you call a Compute Engine API that mutates a resource, Compute Engine adds an entry to the list of operations. For example, when you make an update to a VM that mutates (alters) data, or when a host event occurs that changes the state of a VM, operations are created. This page describes how you can view a list of Compute Engine operations by using the Google Cloud console, the Google Cloud CLI, or REST.

Remember that operations can take some time to complete, so you may find incomplete operations while viewing. When you want to see the final status of incomplete operations, repeatedly viewing operations is not recommended; instead, you should wait for operations to be done.

Before you begin

  • If you haven't already, set up authentication. Authentication is the process by which your identity is verified for access to Google Cloud services and APIs. To run code or samples from a local development environment, you can authenticate to Compute Engine as follows.

    Select the tab for how you plan to use the samples on this page:


    When you use the Google Cloud console to access Google Cloud services and APIs, you don't need to set up authentication.


    1. Install the Google Cloud CLI, then initialize it by running the following command:

      gcloud init
    2. Set a default region and zone.


    To use the REST API samples on this page in a local development environment, you use the credentials you provide to the gcloud CLI.

      Install the Google Cloud CLI, then initialize it by running the following command:

      gcloud init

    For more information, see Authenticate for using REST in the Google Cloud authentication documentation.

Operation Retention Period

While querying operations, keep in mind that completed operations are automatically removed from the database after a certain period.

Compute Engine retains completed operations for at least the minimum retention period of 1 hour, and up to the maximum retention period of 14 days. Although projects often observe a retention period for completed operations that is longer than the minimum of 1 hour, depending on the additional retention period is not recommended.

Note that the retention periods don't apply to operations deleted by the users through Operations.delete method.

Viewing operations

To view a list of operations for your project, perform the following steps:


  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the Operations page.

    Go to Operations

  2. For more details on an operation, click the operation summary. For example, to view the migration details for the my-instance VM, click the Automatically migrate an instance operation.

The operations page showing a live migration. Live migration details.


To view a list of operations for your project using gcloud compute, use the operations list sub-command.

To view the list of operations in a specified zone, add the --filter flag.

gcloud compute operations list --filter="zone:(ZONE)"

Replace ZONE with the zone where you want to view a list of operations. For example, to view the list of operations in us-cental1-c, run the following command:

gcloud compute operations list --filter="zone:(us-central1-c)"

The output is similar to the following:

NAME                            TYPE                                        TARGET                                HTTP_STATUS  STATUS  TIMESTAMP
systemevent-1543845145000...    compute.instances.migrateOnHostMaintenance  us-central1-c/instances/my-instance   200          DONE    2018-12-03T05:52:25.000-08:00


API requests for operations must be specified at either the global, region, or zone level. Live migration, VM stopping, and automatic restarts are all zone-level operations.

For zone operations, make a GET request to the zoneOperations.list method.


Replace the following:

  • PROJECT_ID: the project ID for this request
  • ZONE: the zone for this request

Leave the request body empty.

The following is a sample output for a zone operation request. In this output, details for a host migration displays.

 "kind": "compute#operation",
 "id": "3216798767364213712",
 "name": "systemevent-1543845145000-57c1e7574b840-a195b637-5ff74d9b",
 "zone": "",
 "operationType": "compute.instances.migrateOnHostMaintenance",
 "targetLink": "",
 "targetId": "3070988523247098025",
 "status": "DONE",
 "statusMessage": "Instance migrated during Compute Engine maintenance.",
 "user": "system",
 "progress": 100,
 "insertTime": "2018-12-03T05:52:25.000-08:00",
 "startTime": "2018-12-03T05:52:25.000-08:00",
 "endTime": "2018-12-03T05:52:25.000-08:00",
 "selfLink": ""