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Compute Engine Container Startup Agent

The Compute Engine container startup agent starts a container deployed on a VM instance using Deploying Containers on VMs and Managed Instance Groups method.

The agent parses container declaration that is stored in VM instance metadata under gce-container-declaration key and starts the container with the declared configuration options.

The agent is bundled with Container-Optimized OS image, version 62 or higher.

Building the agent

Container startup agent is deployed as a Docker container and is hosted in Container Registry:

To build the agent using bazel run this command from the repository root:

$ bazel build gce-containers-startup

Export your GCP project name to an environment variable:

$ export MY_PROJECT=your-project-name

To build a Docker image, copy the build binary to the 'docker' directory and invoke the docker build command:

$ cp bazel-bin/gce-containers-startup/gce-containers-startup docker/
$ docker build docker/ -t$MY_PROJECT/gce-containers-startup

To push resulting Docker image to Google Container Registry you can use gcloud command:

$ gcloud docker -- push$MY_PROJECT/gce-containers-startup


If you would like to install the container startup agent on your VM, copy its systemd service definition and scripts:

  • Copy systemd service definition konlet-startup.service into systemd services directory, e.g. /usr/lib/systemd/system.

  • Copy get_metadata_value script to /usr/share/google directory.

  • Copy konlet-startup script to /var/lib/google directory

You can also those scripts directly by a startup script, cloud-init or rc.d scripts.


Compute Engine container startup agent is licensed under Apache License 2.0. The license is available in the LICENSE file.

You can find out more about the Apache License 2.0 at: