Getting started with Endpoints for Kubernetes with ESP

This tutorial shows you how to deploy a simple example gRPC service with the Extensible Service Proxy (ESP) to a Kubernetes cluster that isn't running on Google Cloud. The tutorial uses the Python version of the bookstore-grpc sample. See the What's next section for gRPC samples in other languages.

The tutorial uses prebuilt container images of the sample code and ESP, which are stored in Container Registry. If you are unfamiliar with containers, see the following for more information:

For an overview of Cloud Endpoints, see About Endpoints and Endpoints architecture.


Use the following high-level task list as you work through the tutorial. All tasks are required to successfully send requests to the API.

  1. Set up a Google Cloud project, and download the required software. See Before you begin.
  2. Copy and configure files from the bookstore-grpc sample. See Configuring Cloud Endpoints.
  3. Deploy the Endpoints configuration to create an Endpoints service. See Deploying the Endpoints configuration.
  4. Create credentials for your Endpoints service. See Creating credentials for your service.
  5. Create a backend to serve the API and deploy the API. See Deploying the API backend.
  6. Get the service's external IP address. See Getting the service's external IP address.
  7. Send a request to the API. See Sending a request to the API.
  8. Avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud account. See Clean up.


In this document, you use the following billable components of Google Cloud:

To generate a cost estimate based on your projected usage, use the pricing calculator. New Google Cloud users might be eligible for a free trial.

When you finish the tasks that are described in this document, you can avoid continued billing by deleting the resources that you created. For more information, see Clean up.

Before you begin

This tutorial assumes that you already have Minikube or a Kubernetes cluster set up. For more information, see the Kubernetes documentation.

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Google Cloud project.

  4. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  5. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Google Cloud project.

  6. Make a note of the Google Cloud project ID because it's needed later.
  7. Install and initialize the gcloud CLI.
  8. Update the gcloud CLI and install the Endpoints components.
    gcloud components update
  9. Make sure that the Google Cloud CLI (gcloud) is authorized to access your data and services on Google Cloud:
    gcloud auth login
    In the new tab that opens, select an account.
  10. Set the default project to your project ID:
    gcloud config set project

    Replace YOUR_PROJECT_ID with your Google Cloud project ID.

    If you have other Google Cloud projects, and you want to use gcloud to manage them, see Managing gcloud CLI configurations.

  11. Install kubectl:
    gcloud components install kubectl
  12. Acquire new user credentials to use for Application Default Credentials. The user credentials are needed to authorize kubectl.
    gcloud auth application-default login
  13. In the new browser tab that opens, choose an account.
  14. Follow the steps in the gRPC Python Quickstart to install gRPC and the gRPC tools.

Configuring Endpoints

The bookstore-grpc sample contains the files that you need to copy locally and configure.

  1. Create a self-contained protobuf descriptor file from your service .proto file:
    1. Save a copy of bookstore.proto from the example repository. This file defines the Bookstore service's API.
    2. Create the following directory: mkdir generated_pb2
    3. Create the descriptor file, api_descriptor.pb, by using the protoc protocol buffers compiler. Run the following command in the directory where you saved bookstore.proto:
      python -m grpc_tools.protoc \
          --include_imports \
          --include_source_info \
          --proto_path=. \
          --descriptor_set_out=api_descriptor.pb \
          --python_out=generated_pb2 \
          --grpc_python_out=generated_pb2 \

      In the preceding command, --proto_path is set to the current working directory. In your gRPC build environment, if you use a different directory for .proto input files, change --proto_path so the compiler searches the directory where you saved bookstore.proto.

  2. Create a gRPC API configuration YAML file:
    1. Save a copy of the api_config.yamlfile. This file defines the gRPC API configuration for the Bookstore service.
    2. Replace MY_PROJECT_ID in your api_config.yaml file with your Google Cloud project ID. For example:
      # Name of the service configuration.

      Note that the field value in this file exactly matches the fully-qualified API name from the .proto file; otherwise deployment won't work. The Bookstore service is defined in bookstore.proto inside package endpoints.examples.bookstore. Its fully-qualified API name is endpoints.examples.bookstore.Bookstore, just as it appears in the api_config.yaml file.

        - name: endpoints.examples.bookstore.Bookstore

See Configuring Endpoints for more information.

Deploying the Endpoints configuration

To deploy the Endpoints configuration, you use the gcloud endpoints services deploy command. This command uses Service Infrastructure, Google's foundational services platform, used by Endpoints and other services to create and manage APIs and services.

  1. Make sure you are in the directory where the api_descriptor.pb and api_config.yaml files are located.
  2. Confirm that the default project that the gcloud command-line tool is currently using is the Google Cloud project that you want to deploy the Endpoints configuration to. Validate the project ID returned from the following command to make sure that the service doesn't get created in the wrong project.
    gcloud config list project

    If you need to change the default project, run the following command:

    gcloud config set project YOUR_PROJECT_ID
  3. Deploy the proto descriptor file and the configuration file by using the Google Cloud CLI:
    gcloud endpoints services deploy api_descriptor.pb api_config.yaml

    As it is creating and configuring the service, Service Management outputs information to the terminal. When the deployment completes, a message similar to the following is displayed:

    Service Configuration [CONFIG_ID] uploaded for service []

    CONFIG_ID is the unique Endpoints service configuration ID created by the deployment. For example:

    Service Configuration [2017-02-13r0] uploaded for service []

    In the previous example, 2017-02-13r0 is the service configuration ID and is the service name. The service configuration ID consists of a date stamp followed by a revision number. If you deploy the Endpoints configuration again on the same day, the revision number is incremented in the service configuration ID.

Checking required services

At a minimum, Endpoints and ESP require the following Google services to be enabled:
Name Title Service Management API Service Control API Google Cloud Endpoints

In most cases, the gcloud endpoints services deploy command enables these required services. However, the gcloud command completes successfully but doesn't enable the required services in the following circumstances:

  • If you used a third-party application such as Terraform, and you don't include these services.

  • You deployed the Endpoints configuration to an existing Google Cloud project in which these services were explicitly disabled.

Use the following command to confirm that the required services are enabled:

gcloud services list

If you do not see the required services listed, enable them:

gcloud services enable
gcloud services enable
gcloud services enable

Also enable your Endpoints service:

gcloud services enable ENDPOINTS_SERVICE_NAME

To determine the ENDPOINTS_SERVICE_NAME you can either:

  • After deploying the Endpoints configuration, go to the Endpoints page in the Cloud console. The list of possible ENDPOINTS_SERVICE_NAME are shown under the Service name column.

  • For OpenAPI, the ENDPOINTS_SERVICE_NAME is what you specified in the host field of your OpenAPI spec. For gRPC, the ENDPOINTS_SERVICE_NAME is what you specified in the name field of your gRPC Endpoints configuration.

For more information about the gcloud commands, see gcloud services.

If you get an error message, see Troubleshooting Endpoints configuration deployment.

See Deploying the Endpoints configuration for additional information.

Creating credentials for your service

To provide management for your API, both ESP and ESPv2 require the services in Service Infrastructure. To call these services, ESP and ESPv2 must use access tokens. When you deploy ESP or ESPv2 to Google Cloud environments, such as GKE or Compute Engine, ESP and ESPv2 obtain access tokens for you through the Google Cloud metadata service.

When you deploy ESP or ESPv2 to a non-Google Cloud environment, such as your local desktop, an on-premises Kubernetes cluster, or another cloud provider, you must provide a service account JSON file that contains a private key. ESP and ESPv2 use the service account to generate access tokens to call the services that it needs to manage your API.

You can use either the Google Cloud console or the Google Cloud CLI to create the service account and private key file:


  1. In the Google Cloud console, open the Service Accounts page .

    Go to the Service Accounts page

  2. Click Select a project.
  3. Select the project that your API was created in and click Open.
  4. Click + Create Service Account.
  5. In the Service account name field, enter the name for your service account.
  6. Click Create.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Click Done.
  9. Click the email address of the newly created service account.
  10. Click Keys.
  11. Click Add key, then click Create new key.
  12. Click Create. A JSON key file is downloaded to your computer.

    Make sure to store the key file securely, because it can be used to authenticate as your service account. You can move and rename this file however you would like.

  13. Click Close.


  1. Enter the following to display the project IDs for your Google Cloud projects:

    gcloud projects list
  2. Replace PROJECT_ID in the following command to set the default project to the one that your API is in:

    gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID
  3. Make sure that the Google Cloud CLI (gcloud) is authorized to access your data and services on Google Cloud:

    gcloud auth login

    If you have more than one account, make sure to choose the account that is in the Google Cloud project that the API is in. If you run gcloud auth list, the account that you selected is shown as the active account for the project.

  4. To create a service account, run the following command and replace SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAME and My Service Account with the name and display name that you want to use:

    gcloud iam service-accounts create SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAME \
       --display-name "My Service Account"

    The command assigns an email address for the service account in the following format:

    This email address is required in the subsequent commands.

  5. Create a service account key file:

    gcloud iam service-accounts keys create ~/service-account-creds.json \

Add required IAM roles:

This section describes the IAM resources used by ESP and ESPv2 and the IAM roles required for the attached service account to access these resources.

Endpoint Service Configuration

ESP and ESPv2 call Service Control which uses the endpoint service configuration. The endpoint service configuration is an IAM resource and ESP and ESPv2 need the Service Controller role to access it.

The IAM role is on the endpoint service configuration, not on the project. A project may have multiple endpoint service configurations.

Use the following gcloud command to add the role to the attached service account for the endpoint service configuration.

gcloud endpoints services add-iam-policy-binding SERVICE_NAME \
  --member \
  --role roles/servicemanagement.serviceController

* SERVICE_NAME is the endpoint service name
* is the attached service account.

Cloud Trace

ESP and ESPv2 call Cloud Trace service to export Trace to a project. This project is called the tracing project. In ESP, the tracing project and the project that owns the endpoint service configuration are the same. In ESPv2, the tracing project can be specified by the flag --tracing_project_id, and defaults to the deploying project.

ESP and ESPv2 require the Cloud Trace Agent role to enable Cloud Trace.

Use the following gcloud command to add the role to the attached service account:

gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding TRACING_PROJECT_ID \
  --member \
  --role roles/cloudtrace.agent

* TRACING_PROJECT_ID is the tracing project ID
* is the attached service account. For more information, see What are roles and permissions?

See gcloud iam service-accounts for more information about the commands.

Deploying the API backend

So far you have deployed the service configuration to Service Management, but you have not yet deployed the code that serves the API backend. This section walks you through deploying prebuilt containers for the sample API and ESP to Kubernetes.

Providing ESP with the service credentials

ESP, which runs inside a container, needs access to the credentials stored locally in the service-account-creds.json file. To provide ESP with access to the credentials, you create a Kubernetes secret and mount the Kubernetes secret as a Kubernetes volume.

To create the Kubernetes secret and mount the volume:

  1. If you used the Google Cloud console to create the service account, rename the JSON file to service-account-creds.json. Move it to the same directory where the api_descriptor.pb and api_config.yaml files are located.

  2. Create a Kubernetes secret with the service account credentials:

     kubectl create secret generic service-account-creds

    On success, you see the message, secret "service-account-creds" created.

The deployment manifest file that you use to deploy the API and ESP to Kubernetes already contains the secret volume, as shown in the following two sections of the file:

  - name: service-account-creds
      secretName: service-account-creds
  - mountPath: /etc/nginx/creds
    name: service-account-creds
    readOnly: true

Configuring the service name and starting the service

ESP needs to know the name of your service to find the configuration that you deployed previously by using the gcloud endpoints services deploy command.

To configure the service name and start the service:

  1. Save a copy of the deployment manifest file, k8s-grpc-bookstore.yaml, to the same directory as service-account-creds.json.

  2. Open k8s-grpc-bookstore.yaml and replace SERVICE_NAME with the name of your Endpoints service. This is the same name that you configured in the name field of the api_config.yaml file.

      - name: esp
        args: [

    The --rollout_strategy=managed option configures ESP to use the latest deployed service configuration. When you specify this option, up to 5 minutes after you deploy a new service configuration, ESP detects the change and automatically begins using it. We recommend that you specify this option instead of a specific configuration ID for ESP to use. For more details on the ESP arguments, see ESP startup options.

  3. Start the service to deploy the service on Kubernetes:

    kubectl create -f k8s-grpc-bookstore.yaml

    If you see an error message similar to the following:

    The connection to the server localhost:8080 was refused - did you specify the right host or port?

    This indicates that kubectl isn't properly configured. See Configure kubectl for more information.

Getting the service's external IP address

You need the service's external IP address to send requests to the sample API. It can take a few minutes after you start your service in the container before the external IP address is ready.

  1. View the external IP address:

    kubectl get service

  2. Make a note of the value for EXTERNAL-IP and save it in a SERVER_IP environment variable as it used when sending requests to the sample API.


Sending a request to the API

To send requests to the sample API, you can use a sample gRPC client written in Python.

  1. Clone the git repo where the gRPC client code is hosted:

    git clone

  2. Change your working directory:

    cd python-docs-samples/endpoints/bookstore-grpc/

  3. Install dependencies:

    pip install virtualenv
    virtualenv env
    source env/bin/activate
    python -m pip install -r requirements.txt

  4. Send a request to the sample API:

    python --host SERVER_IP --port 80

If you don't get a successful response, see Troubleshooting response errors.

You just deployed and tested an API in Endpoints!

Clean up

To avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud account for the resources used in this tutorial, either delete the project that contains the resources, or keep the project and delete the individual resources.

  1. Delete the API:

    gcloud endpoints services delete SERVICE_NAME

    Replace SERVICE_NAME with the name of your API.

  2. Delete the GKE cluster:

    gcloud container clusters delete NAME --zone ZONE

What's next