Using references

When you define the properties for your configuration or templates, you can use references to the properties of other resources instead of directly providing values. For example, if you want to create an instance group manager that uses an instance template from the same deployment, instead of explicitly typing the full link for the instance template, you can use a reference with the syntax $(ref.instance-template.selfLink).

With references, you can:

  • Access properties that are not defined until the resource is created. For example, when you define a virtual machine in your configuration, you do not yet know its IP address. However, you can still use a reference to the IP address. When you deploy your configuration, the VM is created first, and Deployment Manager gets the external IP address when it is available.

  • Make your configurations or templates easier to read and troubleshoot. For example, if you need to configure multiple forwarding rules, you must also specify a network to use. Instead of providing a link to the network for each forwarding rule, you can create a reference to the network's selfLink property using the following syntax:

    $(ref.network-name.selfLink)
    

    If you need to troubleshoot your configuration, the reference makes it easier to tell which network is being used in the forwarding rule.

When you create a reference to a resource, you also create a dependency between resources. For example, consider the following snippet, where sandbox-vm uses a reference to network-a:

resources:
- name: sandbox-vm
  type: compute.v1.instance
  properties:
    network: $(ref.network-a.selfLink)
    ...
...
- name: network-a
  type: compute.v1.network
  properties:
    ...

When you deploy this configuration, Deployment Manager creates network-a before sandbox-vm, so that the reference can be resolved. If any references do not resolve successfully, your deployment fails.

You can use references in both configurations and templates.

Before you begin

Making references in configuration files

Declare references in your configuration using the following format:

$(ref.RESOURCE_NAME.PROPERTY)

The following example creates a network, and then creates two instances that use references to the newly created network. In this example, the reference is:

$(ref.a-new-network.selfLink)
# Copyright 2016 Google Inc. All rights reserved.
#
# Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
# you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
# You may obtain a copy of the License at
#
#     http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
#
# Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
# distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
# WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
# See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
# limitations under the License.

resources:
- name: the-first-vm
  type: compute.v1.instance
  properties:
    zone: us-central1-f
    machineType: https://www.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/[MY_PROJECT]/zones/us-central1-f/machineTypes/f1-micro
    disks:
    - deviceName: boot
      type: PERSISTENT
      boot: true
      autoDelete: true
      initializeParams:
        sourceImage: https://www.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/debian-cloud/global/images/family/debian-9
    networkInterfaces:
    - network: $(ref.a-new-network.selfLink)
      accessConfigs:
      - name: External NAT
        type: ONE_TO_ONE_NAT
- name: the-second-vm
  type: compute.v1.instance
  properties:
    zone: us-central1-f
    machineType: https://www.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/[MY_PROJECT]/zones/us-central1-f/machineTypes/g1-small
    disks:
    - deviceName: boot
      type: PERSISTENT
      boot: true
      autoDelete: true
      initializeParams:
        sourceImage: https://www.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/debian-cloud/global/images/family/debian-9
    networkInterfaces:
    - network: $(ref.a-new-network.selfLink)
      accessConfigs:
      - name: External NAT
        type: ONE_TO_ONE_NAT
- name: a-new-network
  type: compute.v1.network
  properties:
    IPv4Range: 10.0.0.0/16

When you deploy this configuration, the network is created before the two instances, and the reference resolves to the selfLink of the network resource.

Making references in templates

In template files, the entire reference must be preceded by a $ and then contained within a set of parentheses:

$(ref.RESOURCE_NAME.PROPERTY)

You can combine references with other features like template properties and environment variables. To make sure Deployment Manager parses the reference correctly, it is important to remember to keep your entire reference string within the parentheses.

Here are some examples of declaring references in your templates:

Jinja

  • Reference that includes an environment variable

    network: $(ref.{{ env["deployment"] }}-network.selfLink)
    
  • Reference to a value in an array

    subnetwork: $(ref.{{ env["deployment"] }}-vm.networkInterfaces[2].subnetwork)
    
  • Reference that includes a template property

    network: $(ref.{{ properties["network"] }}.selfLink)
    
  • Reference using a Jinja parameter

    network: $(ref.{{ NETWORK_NAME }}.selfLink)
    
  • Reference in outputs

      outputs:
      - name: UrlToService
        value: http://$(ref.{{ env["deployment"] }}-network.networkInterfaces[0].accessConfigs[0].natIp):8080/
    

Python

  • Reference that includes an environment variable

    'network': '$(ref.' + context.env['deployment'] + '-network.selfLink)'
    
  • Reference to a value in an array

    'subnetwork': '$(ref.' + context.env['deployment'] + '-vm.networkInterfaces[2].subnetwork)'
    
  • Reference that includes a template property

    'network': '$(ref.' + context.properties['network'] + '.selfLink)'
    
  • Reference using a Python parameter

    'value': '$(ref.' + base_name + '.networkInterfaces[0].networkIP)'
    
  • Reference in outputs

    outputs = [{'name': 'UrlToService',
                'value': '$(ref.' + context.env['deployment'] + '-network.networkInterfaces[0].accessConfigs[0].natIP):8080'}]
    

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Cloud Deployment Manager Documentation