gcloud is a command-line tool to access the services and the configurations of provided by the console of GCP.

Connect to Google instance

gcloud compute ssh NAME

List all the instances:

gcloud compute instances list

Make sure the zone configured in your configuration is the same where the instance can be found or the command will not find the instance by name.

See more about connecting to instances.

Access instance using ssh

In the SSH Keys of the Metadata of your "Project" add the public key of your ssh keypair with your username as "username".

After that every new instance will have this public key installed and so you can use plain old ssh (or Putty if you are using MS Windows) to connect to the machine.

If you are ready to take the risk you can also use the following flags to connect without saving the key of the server in the known_hosts file of your local computer.

ssh -q -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no  EXTERNAL_IP


Projects are the biggest units of organization inside GCP. They allow you to configure access control to your engineers.

This is a collection of a few useful commands.

Projects and Compute Instances

List all the Compute Instances (virtual machines) in the currently configured project and return the results as JSON.

gcloud compute instances list --format='json'

List all the Compute Instances in the project supplied on the command line. For this you don't need to configure each project, you just need to be logged in and you need to have access rights to the specific project.

gcloud compute instances list --project PROJECT --format=json

Stop instance

It will stop the instance (move to TERMINATED state) but won't delete it.

gcloud compute instances stop --project PROJECT --zone ZONE NAME --format json

Start instance

It will start the instance (move to RUNNING state).

gcloud compute instances start --project PROJECT --zone ZONE NAME --format json

Get Information about an instance

gcloud compute instances describe NAME --zone ZONE --project PROJECT
gcloud compute instances describe NAME --zone ZONE --project PROJECT --format json

List all the values of a label

Each compute instance can have labels on it that can help understanding why do we have a machine and it can be used in billing to see what do spend our money on - by category.

Just to have a look we fetch all the labels called "role" together with the name of each instance from the given project.

gcloud compute instances list --format='csv(labels.role,name)' --project development-42

In this example we would like to know what values does the label "role" have in the project called "development-42". First we list the values from all the instances in CSV format. This will contain the list but it will also contain the name of the field ("role" in our case) as the first line of the result. So we filter it out using the tail command. Then we sort the values and run through uniq. That gives us each name once.

gcloud compute instances list --format='csv(labels.role)' --project development-42 | tail +2 | sort | uniq

List all the local configurations

Instead of supplying all the values on the command line for every command (e.g. name of the project, zone, etc.) we can have local configurations with with defaults. Each configuration has a name and a bunch of key-value pairs.

The command

gcloud init

can be used to create new configurations or to change existing ones.

BTW the configuration files are stored in ~/.config/gcloud/configurations/

gcloud config configurations list --format json

You can switch between local configurations using:

gcloud config configurations activate

gsutil ls