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Install and manage Spinnaker on Google Cloud Platform

Spinnaker on Google Cloud Platform is a tool for easily installing a production-ready instance of Spinnaker, and for managing that instance over time.

Do I want to use this solution?

This solution is for…

  • Anyone who wants an easy path to install open-source Spinnaker, in a production-ready configuration, on Google Cloud Platform

  • Anyone who wants to "kick the tires" of Spinnaker, to decide if it's the right CD solution for their needs

  • Administrators who will manage one or more long-running instances of Spinnaker, including adding additional administrators, adding accounts, upgrading, and so on

This solution gives you...

  • Google recommendations and best practices for installing and running Spinnaker on GCP

  • Pre-integration with many other services that Spinnaker is commonly used with

  • Sample applications and other helpers for a smoother experience

What is this solution?

Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform is a solution for installing and managing Spinnaker on Google Cloud Platform. It consists of an installation and management console, Spinnaker and its microservices, and sample applications.

What is Spinnaker?

Spinnaker is an open source, multi-cloud continuous delivery platform for releasing software changes with high velocity and confidence.

If you would like to learn more about Spinnaker, please visit the Spinnaker website.

What is Deck?

Deck is the Spinnaker UI. You access Deck in one of the following ways:

  • Via port forwarding

    The management console provides a command for forwarding port 8080, and a button to click to access Deck via that port.

  • Over the internet, on a publicly available domain

    This domain is secured with Identity-Aware Proxy.

The management console

The management console makes it easy for you to do the following:

  • Install Spinnaker

    Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform makes it easy to get a working version of open-source Spinnaker running on Google Kubernetes Engine. After it's installed, you can make it available to your users. The installation flow begins in the management console after you start the solution.

  • Manage Spinnaker

    Use this same management console to manage/operate your Spinnaker installation, including adding administrators, and creating accounts for deploying to additional GKE clusters or other providers.

    The management flow begins after you finish installing Spinnaker. You can also open it directly via a link from the GKE Applications page in the Google Cloud Console.

The management console uses Cloud Shell, with instructions shown in a guide on the right-hand side of the window. The guide shows the commands that will be run, and you can click those commands to copy them into Cloud Shell and run them there.

What is Cloud Shell?

Cloud Shell is a tool in Google Cloud Platform that provides command-line access to GCP.

How do I find and restore the instructions?

  • If the instructions in the right-hand pane disappear, just enter the following command in Cloud Shell:
cloudshell launch-tutorial ~/spinnaker-for-gcp/scripts/install/
  • If you need to find your way back to the management console, you can relaunch it by following the instructions under Install Spinnaker on Google Cloud Platform.

  • Refer back to this document if you get lost.

Am I billed for this?

You are billed for Google Cloud Platform resources that are installed as part of Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform.

...and possibly other resources, depending on the options you select when you install and configure Spinnaker. You can use the Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator to estimate the cost of this solution.

Learn more about Google Cloud pricing & free trial.

Install and use Spinnaker on Google Cloud Platform

You access this solution by clicking the Go to Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform button on the Spinnaker for GCP page in Marketplace.

After you've installed Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform, you can access Spinnaker and the management console from Google Cloud Console.

Note: Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform doesn't support regional clusters. If you intend to install Spinnaker on an existing cluster, it must be zonal.

Note: Google recommends that you deploy your resources using an account other than spinnaker-install-account. That account is used to install your spinnaker instance, and resources deployed using that account are installed into the spinnaker namespace by default. This namespace is not indexed, so your deployments will time out before they are deemed stable.

Install Spinnaker on Google Cloud Platform

  1. Start the solution from the Spinnaker for GCP Marketplace page by clicking the Go to Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform button.

  2. When prompted to Open in Cloud Shell, click Proceed.

Cloud Shell opens, along with a file tree showing the files in the Spinnaker repository, and instructions.

The management console

Important: If you've launched the management console at least once before, you might be prompted, in the shell, to resume with the clone you created before, update that clone, or clone a new copy of the repository. The first option is best (cd into the existing directory). Don't clone a new copy.

The spinnaker-for-gcp repository is cloned into your Cloud Shell.

  1. Follow the instructions shown on the screen.

The flow in the management console guides you through the installation process, presenting you with commands, which you can copy to the Cloud Shell prompt and then execute by pressing Enter. The commands run scripts that automate the process of installing Spinnaker on GKE.

If the instruction pane disappears at any time, you can restore it using the following command, from Cloud Shell:

cloudshell launch-tutorial ~/spinnaker-for-gcp/scripts/install/

Access Spinnaker

After you've installed Spinnaker, you can execute a command to forward ports, which allows you to access the Deck UI and start using Spinnaker. You can share the port-forwarding command with your users, and if they have access to the GKE cluster, they can reach Deck (the Spinnaker UI) on port 8080.

Alternatively, you can expose Spinnaker over the public internet, secured using Identity-Aware Proxy.

Both alternatives are described below.

Access Spinnaker by forwarding ports

You can run a command in Cloud Shell in the management console, to forward ports so you can access Spinnaker from localhost:8080.

  1. Click to copy the command in the management console, and press Enter.

This forwards the local port 8080 to port 9000 (the port Deck uses) on the pod running Deck.

  1. Click the "Connect to Spinnaker…" link. This highlights the Preview button.

  2. Click the highlighted preview button, and select Preview on port 8080.

Click to preview on port 8080

**Note:**There is a "Connect to Spinnaker" link displayed. If you click it, it highlights the preview button, which you then click to select the port.

Deck, the Spinnaker user interface, opens in your browser. The Spinnaker documentation site has instructions for using Spinnaker.

Back in the management console, there are a few other things you can do:

  • Make Spinnaker securely available to your teams without having to forward ports
  • View the Spinnaker audit log
  • View logs from Spinnaker microservices
  • Click Next to move on to the Spinnaker management portion of the solution.
  • Share the port-forwarding command with your users If they have access to the GKE cluster, they can reach Deck (the Spinnaker UI) on port 8080.

Give your users access to Spinnaker over the internet

The console includes a command that helps you create a secure endpoint from which to expose Spinnaker to your users, securely, over the internet.

Note: If you need to keep Spinnaker private, you can set up port forwarding for your users.

  1. Navigate to step 2 of the installation flow in the Management console ("Connect to Spinnaker").

  2. Under "Expose Spinnaker publicly," click the button to copy the command to the command line, and press Enter.

The script creates a new endpoint from which to serve your Spinnaker instance. After the script finishes, the guidance in the console changes to show instructions for setting up OAuth so that your users can access this endpoint.

  1. Follow those on-screen instructions.

Make sure when you create your OAuth credentials that you copy the generated client ID and secret. You'll need to provide them when prompted by the script.

Note: This process can take up to an hour, even if it appears that the script has finished.

You now have a Spinnaker endpoint that you can share with your users, who authenticate into it using OAuth2. A link to Spinnaker is displayed in the management console. There is also a link on the GKE applications page for this Spinnaker instance.

Manage Spinnaker

Use the management console to manage your spinnaker instance, including the following actions:

  • Add administrators (operators)

  • Add cloud provider accounts

    A provider is the cloud environment (for example, Google Compute Engine) where you deploy your applications

  • Upgrade Spinnaker

  • Invoke Halyard commands to configure Spinnaker

  • Invoke spin commands to manage Spinnaker resources, like applications and pipelines

  1. Access the management portion of this console.

    Use one of the following options:

    If the console is already open:

    1. At the end of the installation flow, click Next.

    2. Copy the command on the Next steps page and press Enter.

      The instructions pane changes to start the management process.

      Start managing Spinnaker from within the console

    If the console is not already open:

    1. Go to the Google Kubernetes Engine applications page.

    2. Open the Spinnaker application.

      The application description includes a link: Open Management Environment in Cloud Shell.

    3. Click that link to open the management console, which now starts with the management/admin functionality.

      Start managing Spinnaker from the GKE Applications page

    4. Select your GCP project, and click Start.

Add administrators for your Spinnaker instance

You can give access to more operators, who can then use the management console.

  1. On the IAM permissions page, grant the person the 'Owner' role on the GCP project where you've installed Spinnaker.

  2. If you are serving Spinnaker on an IAP-secured endpoint, and if the person to whom you're giving operator rights doesn't already have user access, use the following command (which is also on step 5 of the management part of the console):


    ...and follow the instructions on the Cloud Shell command line.

Add cloud provider accounts

You can use the management console to add accounts for as many cloud providers as Spinnaker supports. You'll need one for each cloud on which your users intend to deploy applications. For example, if they will deploy applications to Google Compute Engine and AWS, you'll add a provider account for each.

The management console includes the following command, for adding a GKE account:


And for Google Compute Engine:


And for Google App Engine:


You can run these commands from the management console or enter them in Cloud Shell against an existing Spinnaker instance.

Run Halyard commands

You can invoke any hal command to configure and administer your Spinnaker installation.

To do so, just invoke the command from the Cloud Shell in the management console, after you've installed Spinnaker

Upgrade Spinnaker

  1. Find out the version you want to upgrade to.

    The Versions page lists the stable versions available.

  2. In the console, navigate to the management flow:


  3. Click Next until you see the screen titled "Scripts for Common Commands."

  4. Under "Upgrade Spinnaker," copy the first command to the shell, and press Enter.

    That command is...

    cloudshell edit \
  5. Edit the Spinnaker version in the properties file that is displayed.

    export SPINNAKER_VERSION=1.19.3

    The Spinnaker Versions page shows the latest versions avaiable.

  6. Use the following command to invoke Halyard to apply the changes:


Restart the management console

If you need to restart the console for any reason (for example, you closed the tab or window), you can restart it in the same way that you started it. You can also launch it from the GKE Applications page in the Google Cloud Console, if you've previously installed Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform.

When you restart the console, it prompts you to resume from where you left off, if you want.

Upgrade the management console

  1. In the management console, navigate to step 3, "Scripts for Common Command," and scroll to the bottom of the page.

  2. Run the command shown under "Upgrade Management Environment."

The management console is upgraded to include the latest changes.

Remove Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform

Warning: If you installed Spinnaker on pre-existing infrastructure (GKE cluster, Redis, service accounts), this script deletes those items. If you want to keep them, edit the generated cleanup script (~/spinnaker-for-gcp/scripts/manage/ to comment out the specific deletion commands for items you want to keep.

If you want to remove Spinnaker for any reason:

  1. Open the management console and click Next until you get to the "Delete Spinnaker" page.

  2. Copy the command to the Cloud Shell terminal, and press Enter.

All resources that were created for this Spinnaker instance, and any existing resources on which you might have deployed, are deleted.

Sample Applications

The Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform solution comes with sample applications to help you get started with Spinnaker.

To install them:

  1. In the management console, click Next until you get to the step titled "Use Spinnaker."

  2. Under Install sample applications and pipelines, click the button to paste the command, and press Enter.

    Cloud Shell returns a list of available sample apps, numbered.

  3. Press the number corresponding to the application you want, or the number corresponding to "Quit" to exit without installing any.

  4. Press Enter

    The tutorial pane now displays guidance for the sample application.

  5. To exit the sample app and return to the management portion of the console, click Start and then Next, then scroll to the bottom of the "Start a new build" page, and run the command under "Return to Spinnaker console."

Other considerations

Spinnaker for GCP architecture

Spinnaker and its microservices are installed on GKE using the following architecture:

Architecture of Spinnaker on GCP

Install Spinnaker on an existing cluster

You can install your Spinnaker instance or instances on pre-existing infrastructure, instead of having this solution create it new.

The cluster must have the following:

  • IP aliases enabled, because this uses a hosted Redis instance

  • Full Cloud Platform scope for its nodes if you're using the project default service account

Before you run the installation script, do the following:

  1. Copy and run the following command (which is also available in step 1 of the installation flow):

    cloudshell edit \

    The properties file is opened in the file editor.

  2. Edit this section of the properties file to identify the Kubernetes cluster on which to install Spinnaker:

    # If cluster does not exist, it will be created.
    export ZONE=us-west1-b
    export REGION=us-west1
  3. Similarly, edit other properties to identify other existing infrastructure and accounts that you want to use, if applicable.

    For example an existing Cloud Memorystore Redis instance, or a bucket or a service account. In each case, if the infrastructure doesn't exist, the installation script creates it for you.

Manage multiple Spinnaker installations

If you run multiple Spinnaker instances, they must be on separate clusters, and therefore in different Kubernetes contexts.

Important: If you're trying to install multiple Spinnaker instances, don't clone multiple copies of the spinnaker-for-gcp repo.

To manage one of those installations:

  1. Get your credentials.

    gcloud container get-credentials
  2. Switch to the appropriate Kubernetes context.

    kubectl config use-context <CONTEXT_NAME>
  3. Pull the configuration stored in that cluster.


The config now in ~/spinnaker-for-gcp/scripts/install/properties is the one for that Spinnaker instance. Perform the usual management tasks available to you, including running hal commands. Spinnaker applies those commands to the Spinnaker instance in the chosen context.