Running the Java Bookshelf app on Google Kubernetes Engine

This tutorial shows how to run the Java Bookshelf sample app on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). Follow this tutorial to containerize and deploy an existing Java web app to GKE. It's recommended that you work through the Bookshelf app documentation as part of the tutorial for the App Engine standard environment.


  • Create a GKE cluster.
  • Containerize a Java app.
  • Create a replicated frontend for the Bookshelf app.
  • Create a load-balanced service to route HTTP traffic to the Bookshelf app frontend.


This tutorial uses the following billable components of Google Cloud Platform:

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

When you finish this tutorial, you can avoid continued billing by deleting the resources you created. For more information, see Cleaning up.

Before you begin

  1. Sign in to your Google Account.

    If you don't already have one, sign up for a new account.

  2. Select or create a GCP project.

    Go to the project selector page

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Google Cloud Platform project. Learn how to enable billing.

  4. Enable the Cloud Datastore API, GKE API, Cloud Storage API, Cloud Pub/Sub API APIs.

    Enable the APIs

  5. Install and initialize the Cloud SDK.
  6. Install Docker. Docker builds container images locally.
  7. Install kubectl.
    gcloud components install kubectl

Creating a GKE cluster

A GKE cluster is a managed set of Compute Engine virtual machines (VMs) that operate as a single GKE cluster. This tutorial needs a cluster with a minimum of two nodes, and these nodes need access to all Google APIs.

  1. Create the cluster. Replace [YOUR_GCP_ZONE] with the GCP zone where you want to host your cluster.

    gcloud container clusters create bookshelf \
        --scopes "cloud-platform" \
        --num-nodes 2 \
        --enable-basic-auth \
        --issue-client-certificate \
        --enable-ip-alias \
        --zone [YOUR_GCP_ZONE]
  2. Verify that you have access to the cluster. The following command lists the nodes in your container cluster and indicates that your container cluster is running and that you have access to it.

    kubectl get nodes

You use the kubectl command to create resources in a GKE cluster. To learn more about kubectl, see GKE cluster operations. In general, you use gcloud to manage resources in your GCP project, and you use kubectl to manage resources within your GKE cluster. A single project can have multiple clusters, which lets you have clusters made up of different machine types to satisfy different needs.

When you create a cluster with gcloud, authentication is set up automatically for kubectl. If you use the Google Cloud Platform Console to create clusters, you can set up authentication by using the gcloud container clusters get-credentials command.

Cloning the sample app

The sample app is available on GitHub at GoogleCloudPlatform/getting-started-java.

  1. Clone the repository.

    git clone
  2. Go to the sample directory.

    cd getting-started-java/bookshelf/optional-kubernetes-engine

Initializing Cloud Datastore

The Bookshelf app uses Cloud Datastore to store the books. To initialize Cloud Datastore in your project for the first time, complete the following steps:

  1. In the GCP Console, open the Cloud Datastore page.

    Go to the Cloud Datastore page

  2. Select a region for your datastore.

  3. Click Continue until you reach the Create an Entity page, and then close the window. The Bookshelf app is ready to create entities in Cloud Datastore.

Creating a Cloud Storage bucket

The Bookshelf app uses Cloud Storage to store image files.

The following instructions show how to create a Cloud Storage bucket. Buckets are the basic containers that hold your data in Cloud Storage.

Name your bucket the same as your project ID. In the following commands, replace [YOUR_PROJECT_ID] with your project ID.

  1. Create the bucket:

    gsutil mb gs://[YOUR_PROJECT_ID]
  2. To let users see their uploaded images, set the bucket's default access control list (ACL) to public-read:

    gsutil defacl set public-read gs://[YOUR_PROJECT_ID]

Containerizing the app

The sample app includes a Dockerfile, which is used to create the app's Docker image. This Docker image runs the app on GKE.

# The Google App Engine python runtime is Debian Jessie with Python installed
# and various os-level packages to allow installation of popular Python
# libraries. The source is on github at:

# Add application code.
ADD target/bookshelf-gke-1.0-SNAPSHOT/ /app

  1. Package the Bookshelf app.

    mvn clean -DprojectID=[YOUR_PROJECT_ID] package
  1. Build the app's Docker image.

    docker build -t[YOUR_PROJECT_ID]/bookshelf .
  2. Push the image to Container Registry so that your cluster can access the image.

    gcloud docker -- push[YOUR_PROJECT_ID]/bookshelf

Deploying the Bookshelf frontend

The Bookshelf app has a set of frontend servers that handles and processes the web requests.

The cluster resources needed to run the frontend are defined in bookshelf-frontend.yaml. These resources are described as a GKE deployment. You can use deployments to create and update a replica set and its associated pods.

# Copyright 2017 Google Inc.
# 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
# Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
# distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
# See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
# limitations under the License

# This file configures the bookshelf application frontend. The frontend serves
# public web traffic.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
  name: bookshelf-frontend
    app: bookshelf

# The bookshelf frontend replica set ensures that at least 3
# instances of the bookshelf app are running on the cluster.
# For more info about Pods see:
  replicas: 3

        app: bookshelf
        tier: frontend

      - name: bookshelf-app
        # Replace [GCLOUD_PROJECT] with your project ID.

        # This setting makes nodes pull the docker image every time before
        # starting the pod. This is useful when debugging, but should be turned
        # off in production.
        imagePullPolicy: Always

        # The bookshelf process listens on port 8080 for web traffic by default.
        - name: http-server
          containerPort: 8080
  1. In bookshelf-frontend.yaml, replace [GCLOUD_PROJECT] with your project ID.

  2. Deploy the resources to the cluster.

    kubectl create -f bookshelf-frontend.yaml
  3. Track the status of the deployment.

    kubectl get deployments

    Once the deployment has the number of available pods that you want, the deployment is complete. If you run into issues with the deployment, you can delete it and start over.

    kubectl delete deployments bookshelf-frontend
  4. Once the deployment is complete, you can see the pods that the deployment created.

    kubectl get pods

Creating the Bookshelf service

GKE services provide a single point of access to a set of pods. While it's possible to access a single pod, pods are ephemeral, and it's more convenient to address a set of pods with a single endpoint. In the Bookshelf app, the Bookshelf service lets you access the Bookshelf frontend pods from a single IP address. This service is defined in bookshelf-service.yaml.

# Copyright 2017 Google Inc.
# 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
# Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
# distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
# See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
# limitations under the License

# The bookshelf service provides a load-balancing proxy over the bookshelf
# frontend pods. By specifying the type as a 'LoadBalancer', Kubernetes Engine
# will create an external HTTP load balancer.
# For more information about Services see:
# For more information about external HTTP load balancing see:
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service

  name: bookshelf-frontend
    app: bookshelf
    tier: frontend

  type: LoadBalancer
  - port: 80
    targetPort: http-server
    app: bookshelf
    tier: frontend

Notice that the pods and the service that uses the pods are separate. Kubernetes uses labels to select the pods that a service addresses. With labels, you can have a service that addresses pods from different replica sets and have multiple services that point to an individual pod.

  1. Create the Bookshelf service.

    kubectl create -f bookshelf-service.yaml
  2. Get the service's external IP address.

    kubectl describe service bookshelf

    It might take up to a minute to allocate the IP address. The external IP address is listed under LoadBalancer Ingress.

Accessing the Bookshelf app

You've now deployed all the resources needed to run the Bookshelf app on GKE. To load the app in your browser and create books, use the external IP address from the previous step.

Cleaning up

To avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud Platform account for the resources used in this tutorial:

Delete the project

The easiest way to eliminate billing is to delete the project that you created for the tutorial.

To delete the project:

  1. In the GCP Console, go to the Manage resources page.

    Go to the Manage resources page

  2. In the project list, select the project you want to delete and click Delete .
  3. In the dialog, type the project ID, and then click Shut down to delete the project.

Delete the cluster

Deleting the cluster removes all GKE and Compute Engine resources, but you need to manually remove any resources in Cloud Storage, Cloud Datastore, and Cloud Pub/Sub.

Delete the cluster by using the following command. Replace [YOUR_GCP_ZONE] with the zone you used when creating the cluster.

gcloud container clusters delete bookshelf --zone [YOUR_GCP_ZONE]

What's next

  • Try out other Google Cloud Platform features for yourself. Have a look at our tutorials.
  • Explore other GCP services.
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