Deploy, Scale, and Update Your Website on Google Kubernetes Engine

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Deploy, Scale, and Update Your Website on Google Kubernetes Engine

1 hour 30 minutes 1 Credit


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Running websites and applications is hard. Things go wrong when they shouldn't, servers crash, increase in demand causes more resources to be utilized, and making changes without downtime is complicated and stressful. Imagine if there was a tool that could help you do all this and even allow you to automate it. With Kubernetes, all of this is not only possible, it's easy!

In this lab you will assume the role of a developer at a fictional company, Fancy Store, running an ecommerce website. Due to problems with scaling and outages, you are tasked with deploying your application onto the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

The exercises in this lab are ordered to reflect a common cloud developer experience:

  1. Create a GKE cluster
  2. Create a Docker container
  3. Deploy the container to GKE
  4. Expose the container via a service
  5. Scale the container to multiple replicas
  6. Modify the website
  7. Rollout a new version with zero downtime

Architecture diagram

Architecture diagram


  • A basic understanding of Docker and Kubernetes is recommended to maximize your understanding.

Setup and requirements

Before you click the Start Lab button

Read these instructions. Labs are timed and you cannot pause them. The timer, which starts when you click Start Lab, shows how long Google Cloud resources will be made available to you.

This hands-on lab lets you do the lab activities yourself in a real cloud environment, not in a simulation or demo environment. It does so by giving you new, temporary credentials that you use to sign in and access Google Cloud for the duration of the lab.

To complete this lab, you need:

  • Access to a standard internet browser (Chrome browser recommended).
Note: Use an Incognito or private browser window to run this lab. This prevents any conflicts between your personal account and the Student account, which may cause extra charges incurred to your personal account.
  • Time to complete the lab---remember, once you start, you cannot pause a lab.
Note: If you already have your own personal Google Cloud account or project, do not use it for this lab to avoid extra charges to your account.

How to start your lab and sign in to the Google Cloud console

  1. Click the Start Lab button. If you need to pay for the lab, a pop-up opens for you to select your payment method. On the left is the Lab Details panel with the following:

    • The Open Google Cloud console button
    • Time remaining
    • The temporary credentials that you must use for this lab
    • Other information, if needed, to step through this lab
  2. Click Open Google Cloud console (or right-click and select Open Link in Incognito Window if you are running the Chrome browser).

    The lab spins up resources, and then opens another tab that shows the Sign in page.

    Tip: Arrange the tabs in separate windows, side-by-side.

    Note: If you see the Choose an account dialog, click Use Another Account.
  3. If necessary, copy the Username below and paste it into the Sign in dialog.

    {{{user_0.username | "Username"}}}

    You can also find the Username in the Lab Details panel.

  4. Click Next.

  5. Copy the Password below and paste it into the Welcome dialog.

    {{{user_0.password | "Password"}}}

    You can also find the Password in the Lab Details panel.

  6. Click Next.

    Important: You must use the credentials the lab provides you. Do not use your Google Cloud account credentials. Note: Using your own Google Cloud account for this lab may incur extra charges.
  7. Click through the subsequent pages:

    • Accept the terms and conditions.
    • Do not add recovery options or two-factor authentication (because this is a temporary account).
    • Do not sign up for free trials.

After a few moments, the Google Cloud console opens in this tab.

Note: To view a menu with a list of Google Cloud products and services, click the Navigation menu at the top-left. Navigation menu icon

Activate Cloud Shell

Cloud Shell is a virtual machine that is loaded with development tools. It offers a persistent 5GB home directory and runs on the Google Cloud. Cloud Shell provides command-line access to your Google Cloud resources.

  1. Click Activate Cloud Shell Activate Cloud Shell icon at the top of the Google Cloud console.

When you are connected, you are already authenticated, and the project is set to your Project_ID, . The output contains a line that declares the Project_ID for this session:

Your Cloud Platform project in this session is set to {{{project_0.project_id | "PROJECT_ID"}}}

gcloud is the command-line tool for Google Cloud. It comes pre-installed on Cloud Shell and supports tab-completion.

  1. (Optional) You can list the active account name with this command:
gcloud auth list
  1. Click Authorize.


ACTIVE: * ACCOUNT: {{{user_0.username | "ACCOUNT"}}} To set the active account, run: $ gcloud config set account `ACCOUNT`
  1. (Optional) You can list the project ID with this command:
gcloud config list project


[core] project = {{{project_0.project_id | "PROJECT_ID"}}} Note: For full documentation of gcloud, in Google Cloud, refer to the gcloud CLI overview guide.

Set the zone

  • Set the default zone and project configuration:
gcloud config set compute/zone {{{project_0.default_zone|lab zone}}}

Learn more in the Regions & Zones documentation.

Task 1. Create a GKE cluster

You need a Kubernetes cluster to deploy your website to. First, make sure the proper APIs are enabled.

  1. Run the following command to enable the Container Registry API:
gcloud services enable

Now you are ready to create a cluster!

  1. Run the following to create a GKE cluster named fancy-cluster with 3 nodes:
gcloud container clusters create fancy-cluster --num-nodes 3 Note: If you get an error about region/zone not being specified, please see the environment setup section to make sure you set the default compute zone.

It will take a few minutes for the cluster to be created.

  1. Now run the following command and see the cluster's three worker VM instances:
gcloud compute instances list


NAME: gke-fancy-cluster-default-pool-fb932da6-4sk6 ZONE: us-central1-f MACHINE_TYPE: e2-medium PREEMPTIBLE: INTERNAL_IP: EXTERNAL_IP: STATUS: RUNNING NAME: gke-fancy-cluster-default-pool-fb932da6-d6qc ZONE: us-central1-f MACHINE_TYPE: e2-medium PREEMPTIBLE: INTERNAL_IP: EXTERNAL_IP: STATUS: RUNNING NAME: gke-fancy-cluster-default-pool-fb932da6-ztnh ZONE: us-central1-f MACHINE_TYPE: e2-medium PREEMPTIBLE: INTERNAL_IP: EXTERNAL_IP: STATUS: RUNNING
  1. Find your Kubernetes cluster and related information in the Google Cloud console.

  2. Click the Navigation menu (Navigation menu icon) > Kubernetes Engine > Clusters.

You should see your cluster named fancy-cluster.

Congratulations! You have just created your first Kubernetes cluster!

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Create a GKE cluster

Task 2. Clone source repository

Since this is an existing website, you just need to clone the source, so you can focus on creating Docker images and deploying to GKE.

  1. Run the following commands to clone the git repo to your Cloud Shell instance:
cd ~ git clone
  1. Change to the appropriate directory.

  2. You will also install the NodeJS dependencies so you can test your application before deploying:

cd ~/monolith-to-microservices ./

Wait a few minutes for this script to finish running.

  1. Ensure you are running Cloud Shell with the latest version of npm:
nvm install --lts
  1. Change to the appropriate directory and test the application by running the following command to start the web server:
cd ~/monolith-to-microservices/monolith npm start


Monolith listening on port 8080!
  1. You can preview your application by clicking the web preview icon and selecting Preview on port 8080:

Preview on port 8080 highlighted

This opens a new window where you can see our Fancy Store in action!

Fancy Store Welcome page

Leave this tab open, you'll return to it later in the lab.

  1. To stop the web server process, press CTRL+C in Cloud Shell.

Task 3. Create Docker container with Cloud Build

Now that you have your source files ready to go, it is time to Dockerize your application!

Normally you would have to take a two step approach that entails building a Docker container and pushing it to a registry to store the image for GKE to pull from. Make life easier and use Cloud Build to build the Docker container and put the image in the Container Registry with a single command! With a single command you can build and move the image to the container registry. Learn more about the manual process of creating a docker file and pushing it you can go from Quickstart for Container Registry Guide.

Google Cloud Build will compress the files from the directory and move them to a Google Cloud Storage bucket. The build process will then take all the files from the bucket and use the Dockerfile to run the Docker build process. Since we specified the --tag flag with the host as for the Docker image, the resulting Docker image will be pushed to the Google Cloud Container Registry.

  1. First, to make sure you have the Cloud Build API enable, run the following command:
gcloud services enable
  1. Run the following to start the build process:
cd ~/monolith-to-microservices/monolith gcloud builds submit --tag${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/monolith:1.0.0 .
  1. This process will take a few minutes.

There will be output in the terminal similar to the following:

ID CREATE_TIME DURATION SOURCE IMAGES STATUS 1ae295d9-63cb-482c-959b-bc52e9644d53 2019-08-29T01:56:35+00:00 33S gs://_cloudbuild/source/1567043793.94-abfd382011724422bf49af1558b894aa.tgz SUCCESS
  1. To view your build history or watch the process in real time by clicking the Navigation menu and scrolling down to CI/CD section, then click Cloud Build > History. Here you can see a list of all your previous builds.

  2. Click on the build name to see all the details for that build including the log output.

Optional: From the Build details page, click on the Build summary > Execution details > Image name in the build information section to see the container image:

Execution Details tabbed page with the image name highlighted

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Create Docker container with Cloud Build

Task 4. Deploy container to GKE

Now that you have containerized your website and pushed your container to the Google Container Registry, it is time to deploy to Kubernetes!

To deploy and manage applications on a GKE cluster, you must communicate with the Kubernetes cluster management system. You typically do this by using the kubectl command-line tool.

Kubernetes represents applications as Pods, which are units that represent a container (or group of tightly-coupled containers). The Pod is the smallest deployable unit in Kubernetes. In this lab, each Pod contains only your monolith container.

To deploy your application, create a Deployment resource. The Deployment manages multiple copies of your application, called replicas, and schedules them to run on the individual nodes in your cluster. For this lab the Deployment will be running only one Pod of your application. Deployments ensure this by creating a ReplicaSet. The ReplicaSet is responsible for making sure the number of replicas specified are always running.

The kubectl create deployment command you'll use next causes Kubernetes to create a Deployment named monolith on your cluster with 1 replica.

  • Run the following command to deploy your application:
kubectl create deployment monolith${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/monolith:1.0.0 Note: As a best practice, using YAML file and a source control system such as GitHub or Cloud Source Repositories is recommended to store those changes. Learn more about these resources from the Deployments documentation.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Deploy container to GKE

Verify deployment

  1. Verify the Deployment was created successfully:
kubectl get all

Rerun the command until the pod status is Running.


NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-htm7z 1/1 Running 0 6m21s NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGE service/kubernetes ClusterIP 443/TCP 24h NAME DESIRED CURRENT UP-TO-DATE AVAILABLE AGE deployment.apps/monolith 1 1 1 1 20m NAME DESIRED CURRENT READY AGE replicaset.apps/monolith-7d8bc7bf68 1 1 1 20m

This output shows you several things:

  • The Deployment, which is current
  • The ReplicaSet with desired pod count of 1
  • The Pod, which is running

Looks like everything was created successfully!

Note: You can also view your Kubernetes deployments via the Console by opening the Navigation menu > Kubernetes Engine > Workloads. Note: If you are seeing errors or statuses you do not expect, you can debug your resources with the following commands to see detailed information about them:

kubectl describe pod monolith

kubectl describe pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-2bxts

kubectl describe deployment monolith

kubectl describe deployment.apps/monolith

At the very end of the output, you will see a list of events that give errors and detailed information about your resources.

Optional: You can run commands to your deployments separately as well:

# Show pods kubectl get pods # Show deployments kubectl get deployments # Show replica sets kubectl get rs #You can also combine them kubectl get pods,deployments

To see the full benefit of Kubernetes, simulate a server crash by deleting a pod and see what happens!

  1. Copy a pod name from the previous command, then use it when you run the following command to delete it:
kubectl delete pod/<POD_NAME>

You can watch the deletion from the Workloads page.

  1. Click on the workload name (it will happen quickly).

  2. If you are fast enough, you can run get all again, and you should see two pods: one terminating and the other creating or running:

kubectl get all


NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-2bxts 1/1 Running 0 4s pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-htm7z 1/1 Terminating 0 9m35s NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGE service/kubernetes ClusterIP 443/TCP 24h NAME DESIRED CURRENT UP-TO-DATE AVAILABLE AGE deployment.apps/monolith 1 1 1 1 24m NAME DESIRED CURRENT READY AGE replicaset.apps/monolith-7d8bc7bf68 1 1 1 24m

Why did this happen? The ReplicaSet saw that the pod was terminating and triggered a new pod to keep up the desired replica count. Later on you will see how to scale out to ensure there are several instances running, so if one goes down users won't see any downtime!

Task 5. Expose GKE deployment

You have deployed your application on GKE, but there isn't a way to access it outside of the cluster. By default, the containers you run on GKE are not accessible from the Internet because they do not have external IP addresses. You must explicitly expose your application to traffic from the Internet via a Service resource. A Service provides networking and IP support to your application's Pods. GKE creates an external IP and a Load Balancer for your application.

  • Run the following command to expose your website to the Internet:
kubectl expose deployment monolith --type=LoadBalancer --port 80 --target-port 8080

Accessing the service

GKE assigns the external IP address to the Service resource, not the Deployment.

  1. If you want to find out the external IP that GKE provisioned for your application, you can inspect the Service with the kubectl get service command:
kubectl get service



Re-run the command until your service has an external IP address.

  1. Once you've determined the external IP address for your application, copy the IP address, then point your browser the URL (such as "") to check if your application is accessible.

You should see the same website you tested earlier. You now have your website fully running on Kubernetes!

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Expose GKE Deployment

Task 6. Scale GKE deployment

Now that your application is running in GKE and is exposed to the internet, imagine your website has become extremely popular! You need a way to scale your application to multiple instances so it can handle all this traffic. Next you will learn how to scale the application up to 3 replicas.

  1. In Cloud Shell, run the following command to scale you deployment up to 3 replicas:
kubectl scale deployment monolith --replicas=3
  1. Verify the Deployment was scaled successfully:
kubectl get all


NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-2bxts 1/1 Running 0 36m pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-7ds7q 1/1 Running 0 45s pod/monolith-7d8bc7bf68-c5kxk 1/1 Running 0 45s NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGE service/kubernetes ClusterIP 443/TCP 25h service/monolith LoadBalancer XX.XX.XX.XX 80:32050/TCP 6m7s NAME DESIRED CURRENT UP-TO-DATE AVAILABLE AGE deployment.apps/monolith 3 3 3 3 61m NAME DESIRED CURRENT READY AGE replicaset.apps/monolith-7d8bc7bf68 3 3 3 61m

You should now see 3 instances of your pod running. Notice that your deployment and replica set now have a desired count of 3.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Scale GKE deployment

Task 7. Make changes to the website

Scenario: Your marketing team has asked you to change the homepage for your site. They think it should be more informative of who your company is and what you actually sell.

Task: You will add some text to the homepage to make the marketing team happy! It looks like one of the developers has already created the changes with the file name You can just copy this file to index.js and the changes should be reflected. Follow the instructions below to make the appropriate changes.

  1. Run the following commands copy the updated file to the correct file name:
cd ~/monolith-to-microservices/react-app/src/pages/Home mv index.js
  1. Print its contents to verify the changes:
cat ~/monolith-to-microservices/react-app/src/pages/Home/index.js

The resulting code should look like this:

/* Copyright 2019 Google LLC Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License. \*/ import React from "react"; import { makeStyles } from "@material-ui/core/styles"; import Paper from "@material-ui/core/Paper"; import Typography from "@material-ui/core/Typography"; const useStyles = makeStyles(theme => ({ root: { flexGrow: 1 }, paper: { width: "800px", margin: "0 auto", padding: theme.spacing(3, 2) } })); export default function Home() { const classes = useStyles(); return (
Fancy Fashion & Style Online
Tired of mainstream fashion ideas, popular trends and societal norms? This line of lifestyle products will help you catch up with the Fancy trend and express your personal style. Start shopping Fancy items now!
); }

The React components were updated, but the React app needs to be built to generate the static files.

  1. Run the following command to build the React app and copy it into the monolith public directory:
cd ~/monolith-to-microservices/react-app npm run build:monolith

Now that the code is updated, you need to rebuild the Docker container and publish it to the Google Cloud Container Registry. Use the same command as earlier, except this time update the version label.

  1. Run the following command to trigger a new cloud build with an updated image version of 2.0.0:
cd ~/monolith-to-microservices/monolith gcloud builds submit --tag${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/monolith:2.0.0 .

In the next section you will use this image to update your application with zero downtime.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Make changes to the website

Task 8. Update website with zero downtime

The changes are completed and the marketing team is happy with your updates! It is time to update the website without interruption to the users.

GKE's rolling update mechanism ensures that your application remains up and available even as the system replaces instances of your old container image with your new one across all the running replicas.

  • Tell Kubernetes that you want to update the image for your deployment to a new version with the following command:
kubectl set image deployment/monolith${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/monolith:2.0.0

Verify deployment

  1. You can validate your deployment update by running the following command:
kubectl get pods


NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE monolith-584fbc994b-4hj68 1/1 Terminating 0 60m monolith-584fbc994b-fpwdw 1/1 Running 0 60m monolith-584fbc994b-xsk8s 1/1 Terminating 0 60m monolith-75f4cf58d5-24cq8 1/1 Running 0 3s monolith-75f4cf58d5-rfj8r 1/1 Running 0 5s monolith-75f4cf58d5-xm44v 0/1 ContainerCreating 0 1s

Here you will see 3 new pods being created and your old pods getting shut down. You can tell by the age which are new and which are old. Eventually, you will only see 3 pods again which will be your 3 updated pods.

  1. Test the application by running the following command to start the web server:
npm start
  1. To verify our changes, return to the app web page tab and refresh the page. Notice that your application has been updated.

Your website should now be displaying the text you just added to the homepage component!

Fancy Store Home page

  1. To stop the web server process, press CTRL+C in Cloud Shell.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Update website with zero downtime

Task 9. Cleanup

Although all resources will be deleted when you complete this lab, in your own environment it's a good idea to remove resources you no longer need.

  1. Delete git repository:
cd ~ rm -rf monolith-to-microservices
  1. Delete Google Container Registry images:
# Delete the container image for version 1.0.0 of the monolith gcloud container images delete${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/monolith:1.0.0 --quiet # Delete the container image for version 2.0.0 of the monolith gcloud container images delete${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/monolith:2.0.0 --quiet
  1. Delete Google Cloud Build artifacts from Google Cloud Storage:
# The following command will take all source archives from all builds and delete them from cloud storage # Run this command to print all sources: # gcloud builds list | awk 'NR > 1 {print $4}' gcloud builds list | grep 'SOURCE' | cut -d ' ' -f2 | while read line; do gsutil rm $line; done
  1. Delete GKE Service:
kubectl delete service monolith kubectl delete deployment monolith
  1. Delete GKE Cluster:
gcloud container clusters delete fancy-cluster {{{project_0.default_region | lab region}}}
  1. Type Y to confirm this action. This command may take a little while.


You successfully deployed, scaled, and updated your website on GKE. You are now experienced with Docker and Kubernetes!

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Continue your learning with Migrating a Monolithic Website to Microservices on Google Kubernetes Engine or check out these suggestions:

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Manual Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Lab Last Tested: February 21, 2024

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