Running a Photon OS Machine on GCE

Photon OS comes in a preconfigured image ready for Google Cloud Engine.


The example in this section shows how to create a Photon OS instance on Google Cloud Engine with and without cloud-init user data.


  • You must have set up a GCE account and are ready to pay Google for its cloud services. The GCE-ready version of Photon OS is a free image and is free. You can download it without registration from the following Bintray location:

    The GCE-ready image of Photon OS contains packages and scripts that prepare it for the Google cloud to save you time as you implement a compute cluster or develop cloud applications. The GCE-ready version of Photon OS adds the following packages to the packages installed with the minimal version:

      sudo, tar, which, google-daemon, google-startup-scripts, 
      kubernetes, perl-DBD-SQLite, perl-DBIx-Simple, perl, ntp
  • Verify that you have the gcloud command-line tool. For more information see,


  1. Use the following commands to create an instance of Photon OS from the Photon GCE image without using cloud-init. In the commands, you must replace <bucket-name> with the name of your bucket and the path to the Photon GCE tar file.

    $ gcloud compute instances list
     $ gcloud compute images list
     $ gcloud config list
     $ gsutil mb gs://<bucket-name>
     $ gsutil cp <path-to-photon-gce-image.tar.gz> gs://<bucket-name>/photon-gce.tar.gz
     $ gcloud compute images create photon-gce-image --source-uri gs://<bucket-name>/photon-gce.tar.gz 
     $ gcloud compute instances create photon-gce-vm --machine-type "n1-standard-1" --image photon-gce-image
     $ gcloud compute instances describe photon-gce-vm
  2. To create a new instance of a Photon OS machine and configure it with a cloud-init user data file, replace the gcloud compute instances create command in the example above with the following command. Before running this command, you must upload your user-data file to Google's cloud infrastructure and replace <path-to-userdata-file> with its path and file name.

     gcloud compute instances create photon-gce-vm --machine-type "n1-standard-1" --image photon-gce-vm --metadata-from-file=user-data=<path-to-userdata-file>

    You can also add a cloud-init user-data file to an existing instance of a Photon OS machine on GCE:

    gcloud compute instances add-metadata photon-gce-vm --metadata-from-file=user-data=<path-to-userdata-file>

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