Google Compute Engine

Google Compute Engine Console

Google Compute Engine offers the browser-based Google Developers Console tool that you can use to manage your Google Compute Engine resources. Use the Developers Console to list, create, and delete your instances and disks, and to list information about your networks, firewalls, and zones, such as the size of your disks, the firewalls attached to a network, or the zones available to you.


Getting Started

The Developers Console lets you manage your Google Compute Engine resources through a easy-to-use graphical user interface. Through the Console, you can create and manage instances, disks, networks, and other resources.

To get started using the Console, review the instructions on accessing the Console, and start managing your resources! Most tasks in the Console are intuitive but this document provides instructions for some less common tasks.

Accessing the Console

To access the Console:

  1. Log in to the Console.
  2. Choose the project where you have enabled Google Compute Engine.
  3. Click on Google Compute Engine.

Setting Up ssh Keys

After you create new instances in the Console, you can access them using:

When you connect using gcutil, gcutil automatically handles creating your ssh key and inserting it into the instance. If you want to use an ssh client without gcutil, you can insert your ssh key using the Console. This can be especially useful if you already have a public/private key pair and would like to use the same public/private key pair for your new instances.

To insert your keys using the Console:

  1. Generate your keys using ssh-keygen (or PuTTYgen for Windows), if you haven't already.
  2. Copy your public key. If you just generated this key, it can probably be found in a file named
  3. Log in to the Console.
  4. Add your key to the project metadata:
    1. Click on the Metadata page.
    2. Enter sshKeys the blank key box.
    3. In the corresponding Value, enter a value for the ssh key in the following format:

      This makes your public key automatically available to all of your instances in that project. To add multiple keys, list each key on a new line, as demonstrated above.

    4. Save your changes.

      Click Add metadata to save your changes. It may take several minutes before the key is inserted into the instance. Try ssh'ing into your instance. If it is successful, your key has been propagated to the instance.

Attaching a Persistent Disk

You can attach a persistent disk at instance creation or attach it after you have started your instance.

To attach your persistent disk at instance creation:

  1. Log in to the Console.
  2. Click on VM Instances.
  3. Click on New Instance.
  4. Under Location and Resources, select a persistent disk from the Persistent Disks drop-down field.

To attach a persistent disk to a running instance:

  1. Log in to the Console.
  2. On the VM Instances page, select an instance.
  3. Under the Disks section, click on Attach.
  4. Select a disk to attach to the instance.
  5. Select whether to attach the disk in read-only or read-write mode.
  6. Click Attach Disk.

Using a Root Persistent Disk

You can start your instance using a root filesystem on a persistent disk instead of a root filesystem on a scratch disk.

  1. Login to the Console.
  2. Click on VM Instances to navigate to the Instances page.
  3. Click on the New Instance button to create an new instance.
  4. Under the Location and resources section, locate the Boot source field.
  5. Select New persistent disk from image.
  6. Select an image in the Image field. Your root disk will be created with the same <instance-name> and automatically attached to your new instance.

    Alternatively, you can also create a root disk and attach it separately:

    1. Click on Disks.
    2. Click on New Disk to create a new disk.
    3. For the Source image field, select an image to apply to the persistent disk.

      Note: You can only apply a source image or a source snapshot. It is not possible to select both options.

    4. Click Create.
    5. On the New Instance page, select Existing persistent disk as the boot source.
    6. Select a kernel for the disk.
  7. Click Create when you are ready to create your instance.

Caution: Although you can also select a scratch disk as your boot source, this is not recommended because scratch disks only last the life of the instance and aren't persistent once the instance is terminated.

Using Persistent Disk Snapshots

You can use the Console to create snapshots of your persistent disks, and apply these snapshots to new disks in your project. Snapshots are useful for migrating disks across zones and can also act as a backup mechanism for your persistent disks.

Caution: Before you take a snapshot, you should make sure your disk buffers are flushed. Review the snapshot documentation for more information.

  1. Log in to the Console.
  2. Click on the Snapshots page.
  3. Click on New Snapshot.
  4. Fill out the form and click Create.

To use a snapshot to create a new disk:

  1. Log in to the Console.
  2. Click on the Disks page.
  3. Choose a name for your new disk and the zone where this disk should live.
  4. Select your snapshot in the Source snapshot drop-down menu.
  5. Click on Create.

Using the Console to Generate REST Requests

When you create a new resource using the Console, Google Compute Engine also shows the REST request that is used to create this resource. This is a good way to view a sample REST request or to build your own REST request using a graphical interface. To see an example of this:

  1. Log in to the Console.
  2. On the Instances page, click New Instance.
  3. Click on Equivalent REST to view the REST details for creating a new instance.

General Notes

Here are some general notes to be aware of when using Google Compute Engine:

  • Certain ports are blocked by default

    These blocked ports cannot be unblocked without an exception from the Google Compute Engine team. You cannot unblock these ports by setting firewall rules.

  • There is a limit to the number of persistent disks you can attach to an instance

    Review those limits if you run into errors attaching your disks.

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