Creating an alpha cluster

This page shows you how to create an Google Kubernetes Engine alpha cluster, which is a cluster with Kubernetes alpha features enabled in Google Kubernetes Engine. You can also read more about the types of clusters and about cluster architecture.

Before you begin

Before you start, make sure you have performed the following tasks:

Set up default gcloud settings using one of the following methods:

  • Using gcloud init, if you want to be walked through setting defaults.
  • Using gcloud config, to individually set your project ID, zone, and region.

Using gcloud init

If you receive the error One of [--zone, --region] must be supplied: Please specify location, complete this section.

  1. Run gcloud init and follow the directions:

    gcloud init

    If you are using SSH on a remote server, use the --console-only flag to prevent the command from launching a browser:

    gcloud init --console-only
  2. Follow the instructions to authorize gcloud to use your Google Cloud account.
  3. Create a new configuration or select an existing one.
  4. Choose a Google Cloud project.
  5. Choose a default Compute Engine zone for zonal clusters or a region for regional or Autopilot clusters.

Using gcloud config

  • Set your default project ID:
    gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID
  • If you are working with zonal clusters, set your default compute zone:
    gcloud config set compute/zone COMPUTE_ZONE
  • If you are working with Autopilot or regional clusters, set your default compute region:
    gcloud config set compute/region COMPUTE_REGION
  • Update gcloud to the latest version:
    gcloud components update

Creating an alpha cluster

You can create an alpha cluster by using the gcloud tool or the Google Cloud Console.


Run the following command:

gcloud container clusters create cluster-name \
    --enable-kubernetes-alpha \
    --no-enable-autorepair \
    --no-enable-autoupgrade \
    [--zone compute-zone] \
    [--cluster-version version]

Replace the following:

  • cluster-name: the name you choose for the cluster.
  • compute-zone the zone in which to create the cluster. The optional --zone flag overrides the default compute/zone property set by gcloud config set compute/zone.

  • version: the GKE version to run in the cluster. If unset, the cluster runs the current default version documented in Versioning and upgrades.

You are prompted to acknowledge a warning that the alpha cluster is not upgraded and is deleted after 30 days:

This will create a cluster with all Kubernetes Alpha features enabled.
- This cluster will not be covered by the GKE SLA and should
  not be used for production workloads.
- You will not be able to upgrade the master or nodes.
- The cluster will be deleted after 30 days.


  1. Go to the Google Kubernetes Engine page in the Cloud Console.

    Go to Google Kubernetes Engine

  2. Click Create.

  3. In the Cluster basics section, complete the following:

    1. Enter the Name for your cluster.
    2. For the Location type, select Zonal, and then select the desired zone for your cluster.
    3. If you are creating a multi-zonal cluster, select the Specify default node locations checkbox, and then choose additional zones in which you'd like the node pools to run.
    4. For the Control plane version, select Static version, then choose a GKE version.

  4. From the navigation pane, under Node Pools, click default-pool.

  5. In the Node pool details section, complete the following:

    1. Enter a Name for the default Node pool.
    2. For static version nodes, choose the Node version.
    3. Enter the Number of nodes to create in the cluster. You must have available resource quota for the nodes and their resources (such as firewall routes).
    4. Clear Enable auto-upgrade and Enable auto-repair.
  6. From the navigation pane, under Node Pools, click Nodes.

  7. From the Image type drop-down list, select the desired node image.

  8. Choose the default Machine configuration to use for the instances. Each machine type is billed differently. The default machine type is e2-medium. For machine type pricing information, refer to the machine type price sheet.

  9. From the Boot disk type drop-down list, select the desired disk type.

  10. Enter the Boot disk size.

  11. From the navigation pane, under Cluster, click Features.

  12. Click Enable Kubernetes alpha features in this cluster.

  13. Read and acknowledge the warning by selecting I understand the consequences.

  14. Click Create.

After you create a cluster, you need to configure kubectl before you can interact with the cluster from the command line.

Check when an alpha cluster expires

To check when alpha clusters expire, run the following command:

gcloud container clusters list

What's next