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Charmed Kubernetes on GCP

Charmed Kubernetes will run seamlessly on Google Cloud Platform(GCP). With the addition of the gcp-integrator, your cluster will also be able to use GCP native features directly.

GCP Credentials

If you have set up a service account with IAM roles as your credential for Juju, there may be some additional authorisations you will need to make to access all features of GCP with Charmed Kubernetes.

If you have a GCP project set up specifically for Charmed Kubernetes, the quickest route is to simply add the service account as an Owner of that project in the GCP console.

If you chose a more fine-grained approach to role administration, the service account should have at least:

  • roles/compute.loadBalancerAdmin
  • roles/compute.instanceAdmin.v1
  • roles/compute.securityAdmin
  • roles/iam.serviceAccountUser

A full description of the various pre-defined roles is available in the GCP Documentation.

GCP integrator

The gcp-integrator charm simplifies working with Charmed Kubernetes on GCP. Using the credentials provided to Juju, it acts as a proxy between Charmed Kubernetes and the underlying cloud, granting permissions to dynamically create, for example, storage volumes.

GCP K8S Storage

The gcp-k8s-storage charm moves the GCP specific functions of the PD csi-driver out-of-tree. Using this charm, the drivers are installed as workloads in the kubernetes cluster instead of as natural code paths of the kubernetes binaries.


If you install Charmed Kubernetes using the Juju bundle, you can add the gcp-integrator at the same time by using the following overlay file (download it here):

description: Charmed Kubernetes overlay to add native GCP support.
    charm: gcp-integrator
    num_units: 1
    trust: true
  - ['gcp-integrator', 'kubernetes-control-plane']
  - ['gcp-integrator', 'kubernetes-worker']

As well as the storage overlay file (download it here):

description: Charmed Kubernetes overlay to add native GCP storage support.
      allow-privileged: "true"
    charm: gcp-integrator
    num_units: 1
    trust: true
    charm: gcp-k8s-storage
    trust: true
- ['gcp-k8s-storage:certificates', 'easyrsa:client']
- ['gcp-k8s-storage:kube-control', 'kubernetes-control-plane:kube-control']
- ['gcp-k8s-storage:gcp-integration', 'gcp-integrator:gcp']

To use these overlays with the Charmed Kubernetes bundle, it is specified during deploy like this:

juju deploy charmed-kubernetes --overlay ~/path/gcp-overlay.yaml --overlay ~/path/gcp-storage-overlay.yaml --trust

... and remember to fetch the configuration file!

juju ssh kubernetes-control-plane/leader -- cat config > ~/.kube/config

For more configuration options and details of the permissions which the integrator uses, please see the charm readme.

Using persistent storage

Many pods you may wish to deploy will require storage. Although you can use any type of storage supported by Kubernetes (see the storage documentation), you also have the option to use the native GCP storage types.

GCP storage currently comes in two types - SSD (pd-ssd) or 'standard'(pd-standard). To use these, we need to create a storage classes in Kubernetes.

Beginning in Kubernetes 1.25

The gcp-k8s-storage charm will need to be installed to make use of PD Volumes. Google removed CSIMigration away from the in-tree binaries but made them available as container workload in the cluster. This charm installs and relates to the existing integrator charm.

A StorageClass will be created by this charm named csi-gce-pd-default

You can confirm this has been added by running:

kubectl get sc

which should return:

csi-gce-pd-default   Delete          WaitForFirstConsumer   false                  4h19m

Prior to Kubernetes 1.25

First we need to create a storage class which can be used by Kubernetes. To start with, we will create one for the 'General Purpose SSD' type of EBS storage:

For the standard disks:

kubectl create -f - <<EOY
kind: StorageClass
  name: gcp-standard
  type: pd-standard

Or for SSD:

kubectl create -f - <<EOY
kind: StorageClass
  name: gcp-ssd
  type: pd-ssd

You can confirm this has been added by running:

kubectl get sc

which should return:

NAME           PROVISIONER            AGE
gcp-ssd   9s
gcp-standard   45s

Creating a PVC

To actually create storage using this new class, you can make a Persistent Volume Claim:

kubectl create -f - <<EOY
kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
apiVersion: v1
  name: testclaim
    - ReadWriteOnce
      storage: 100Mi
  storageClassName: gcp-standard

This should finish with a confirmation. You can check the current PVCs with:

kubectl get pvc

...which should return something similar to:

NAME        STATUS   VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS   AGE
testclaim   Bound    pvc-e1d42bae-44e6-11e9-8dff-42010a840007   1Gi        RWO            gcp-standard   15s

This PVC can then be used by pods operating in the cluster. As an example, the following deploys a busybox pod:

kubectl create -f - <<EOY
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: busybox
  namespace: default
    - image: busybox
        - sleep
        - "3600"
      imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent
      name: busybox
        - mountPath: "/pv"
          name: testvolume
  restartPolicy: Always
    - name: testvolume
        claimName: testclaim

To set this type of storage as the default, you can use the command:

kubectl patch storageclass gcp-standard -p '{"metadata": {"annotations":{"":"true"}}}'

If you create persistent disks and subsequently tear down the cluster, check with the GCP console to make sure all the associated resources have also been released.

Using GCP Loadbalancers

With the gcp-integrator charm in place, actions which invoke a loadbalancer in Kubernetes will automatically generate a GCP Target Pool and the relevant forwarding rules. This can be demonstrated with a simple application. Here we will create a simple application and scale it to five pods:

kubectl create deployment hello-world
kubectl scale deployment hello-world --replicas=5

You can verify that the application and replicas have been created with:

kubectl get deployments hello-world

Which should return output similar to:

hello-world      5/5               5                            5             2m38s

To create a target pool load balancer, the application should now be exposed as a service:

kubectl expose deployment hello-world --type=LoadBalancer --name=hello --port 8080

To check that the service is running correctly:

kubectl describe service hello

...which should return output similar to:

Name:                     hello
Namespace:                default
Labels:                   run=load-balancer-example
Annotations:              <none>
Selector:                 run=load-balancer-example
Type:                     LoadBalancer
LoadBalancer Ingress:
Port:                     <unset>  8080/TCP
TargetPort:               8080/TCP
NodePort:                 <unset>  31864/TCP
Endpoints:      ,, + 2 more...
Session Affinity:         None
External Traffic Policy:  Cluster
  Type    Reason                Age    From                Message
  ----    ------                ----   ----                -------
  Normal  EnsuringLoadBalancer  9m21s  service-controller  Ensuring load balancer
  Normal  EnsuredLoadBalancer   7m37s  service-controller  Ensured load balancer

You can see that the LoadBalancer Ingress is now associated with a new ingress address in front of the five endpoints of the example deployment. You can test this address:

Hello Kubernetes!

Upgrading the charms

The charm gcp-integrator and gcp-k8s-storage can be refreshed within the current charm channel without concern and can be upgraded at any time with the following command,

juju refresh gcp-integrator
juju refresh gcp-k8s-storage

It isn't recommended to switch charm channels unless a full charm upgrade is planned.


If you have any specific problems with the gcp-integrator, you can report bugs on Launchpad.

Any activity in GCP can be monitored from the Operations console. If you are using a service account with IAM roles, it is relatively easy to see the actions that particular account is responsible for.

For logs of what the charm itself believes the world to look like, you can use Juju to replay the log history for that specific unit:

juju debug-log --replay --include gcp-integrator/0

We appreciate your feedback on the documentation. You can edit this page or file a bug here.

See the guide to contributing or discuss these docs in our public Mattermost channel.