When you start Cloud Shell, it provisions a Google Compute Engine virtual machine running a Debian-based Linux operating system. Cloud Shell instances are provisioned on a per-user, per-session basis. The instance persists while your Cloud Shell session is active; after an hour of inactivity, your session terminates and its VM, discarded. For more on usage quotas, refer to the limitations guide.
With the default Cloud Shell experience, you are allocated with an ephemeral, pre-configured VM and the environment you work with is a Docker container running on that VM. You can also customize your environment automatically on VM boot to ensure that your Cloud Shell instance includes your preferred tools.
Persistent disk storage
Cloud Shell provisions 5 GB of free
persistent disk storage mounted as
$HOME directory on the virtual machine instance. This storage is on
a per-user basis and is available across projects. Unlike the instance itself,
this storage does not time out on inactivity. All files you store in your
home directory, including installed software, scripts and user configuration
.vimrc, persist between sessions. Your
directory is private to you and cannot be accessed by other users.
Cloud Shell also offers Ephemeral mode which is the Cloud Shell experience without persistent disk storage. With Ephemeral mode, you'll have faster startup times but all the files you create in your session are lost on session end.
When you make a Google Cloud API call or use a command-line tool that requires credentials (such as the gcloud command-line tool) with Cloud Shell for the first time, Cloud Shell prompts you with the 'Authorize Cloud Shell' dialog. Click 'Authorize' to allow the tool to use your credentials to make calls.
Refer to the Authorizing with Cloud Shell for more details.
Pre-configured environment variables
When Cloud Shell is started, the active project in Console is propagated to
gcloud configuration inside Cloud Shell for immediate use.
GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT, the environmental variable used by
Application Default Credentials library support to define project ID, is also
set to point to the active project in Console.
Cloud Shell is globally distributed across multiple Google Cloud Platform regions. When you first connect to Cloud Shell, you will be automatically assigned to the closest available geographical region. You cannot pick your own region and in the event that Cloud Shell does not pick the most optimal region, it will try to migrate your Cloud Shell VM to a closer region when it is not in use.
To view your current region, run the following command from a Cloud Shell session:
The Cloud Shell container image is updated weekly to ensure prepackaged tools are kept up to date. This means Cloud Shell always comes with the latest versions of Cloud SDK, Docker, and all its other utilities.
When you set up a Cloud Shell session, you get a regular Unix user account with a username based on your email address. With this access, you have full root privileges on your allocated VM and can even run sudo commands, if you need to.
The Cloud Shell virtual machine instance has the following pre-installed tools:
|Linux shell interpreters||
|Linux utilities||Standard Debian system utilities|
|Google SDKs and tools||
Google App Engine SDK
Google Cloud SDK including the
|Build and package tools||
|Source control tools||
You can install additional software packages on the virtual machine instance
but the installation will not persist after the instance terminates unless you
install the software in your
$HOME directory or create a
The Cloud Shell virtual machine instance provides pre-installed language support for the following:
|Java||JRE/JDK 1.8 and 1.11|
|.NET Core||SDKs 2.0.0 and 2.1.502
Core runtimes 2.0.0 and 2.1.6
The default version of the Java environment is 1.11. To change the current Cloud Shell session to use version 1.8 of the JRE and JDK, enter the following at the Cloud Shell command prompt:
sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-1.8.0-openjdk-amd64 && export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64
To change back to 1.11.0:
sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-1.11.0-openjdk-amd64 && export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk-amd64/jre
Cloud Shell will immediately close after connection if there is a problem in
.tmux.conf files. To
resolve this, open Cloud Shell in safe mode by appending
cloudshellsafemode=true to the URL. This will restart your Cloud
Shell and log you in as root, allowing you to fix any issues in the files.
If you'd prefer to permanently delete all files in your home directory and restore your Cloud Shell home directory to a clean state, you can completely reset your Cloud Shell VM.