1. Create a Service Account

    Begin by logging into Google Cloud Platform and creating a service account to operate your cluster.

  2. Create the Cluster

    Using your service account, create your Google Container Engine (GKE) cluster.

Create a Service Account

Create a service account using Google Cloud Platform. GKE uses this account to operate your cluster. Creating this account also generates a private key used for authentication.

The service account requires the following roles:

  • project/viewer
  • kubernetes-engine/admin
  • service-account/user

Google Documentation: Creating and Enabling Service Accounts

Create the GKE Cluster

Use Rancher to set up and configure your Kubernetes cluster.

  1. From the Clusters page, click Add Cluster.

  2. Choose Google Container Engine.

  3. Enter a Cluster Name.

  4. Use Member Roles to configure user authorization for the cluster.

    • Click Add Member to add users that can access the cluster.
    • Use the Role drop-down to set permissions for each user.

  5. Either paste your service account private key in the Service Account text box or Read from a file. Then click Next: Configure Nodes.

    Note: After submitting your private key, you may have to enable the Google Kubernetes Engine API. If prompted, browse to the URL displayed in the Rancher UI to enable the API.

  6. Use Cluster Options to choose the version of Kubernetes, what network provider will be used and if you want to enable project network isolation. To see more cluster options, click on Show advanced options.

  7. Use Nodes to provision each node in your cluster and choose a geographical region.

  8. Review your options to confirm they’re correct. Then click Create.


  • Your cluster is created and assigned a state of Provisioning. Rancher is standing up your cluster.
  • You can access your cluster after its state is updated to Active.
  • Active clusters are assigned two Projects, Default (containing the namespace default) and System (containing the namespaces cattle-system,ingress-nginx,kube-public and kube-system, if present).