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Using Terraform to Launch a Compute Engine Instance in GCP

Learning how to create major resources with Terraform is important in understanding how Terraform works with GCP. In this hands-on lab, we will walk through what creating a Compute Engine instance looks like and how to configure it.


Path Info

Clock icon Intermediate
Clock icon 1h 15m
Clock icon Apr 03, 2020

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Table of Contents

  1. Challenge

    Create a Service Account

    1. From Google Cloud console's main navigation, choose IAM & Admin > Service Accounts.
    2. Click Create service account.
    3. Give your service account a name.
    4. Click Create.
    5. In the roles dropdown, select Project > Owner.
    6. Click Continue and then Done.
  2. Challenge

    Log in to the Host Instance and Ensure Terraform Is Installed

    1. From Google Cloud navigation, choose Compute Engine > VM instances.

    2. Click SSH next to terraform-instance.

    3. Use root privileges:

      sudo -i
    4. Change into the root directory:

      cd /
    5. Call Terraform:

  3. Challenge

    Create a Service Account Key within the Instance

    1. Allow the SDK to communicate with GCP:

      gcloud init --console-only
    2. Enter Y and Yat the prompt.

    3. Choose your Cloud Project.

    4. Select the Cloud Student account.

    5. Choose Y to configure a default Compute Region and Zone

    6. Choose "us-central1-c"

    7. Copy the code provided.

    8. Paste the code into the terminal.

    9. Create the service account key:

      gcloud iam service-accounts keys create /downloads/compute-instance.json --iam-account <SERVICE_ACCOUNT_EMAIL>
  4. Challenge

    Create and Deploy the Configuration File

    1. Create a file:

    2. Paste the following configuration, replacing <PROJECT_NAME> with your project name (found in the top navigation bar of the Google Cloud console):

      provider "google" {
        version = "3.5.0"
        credentials = file("/downloads/compute-instance.json")
        project = "<PROJECT_NAME>"
        region  = "us-central1"
        zone    = "us-central1-c"
      resource "google_compute_network" "vpc_network" {
        name = "terraform-network"
      resource "google_compute_instance" "vm_instance" {
        name         = "terraform-instance2"
        machine_type = "f1-micro"
        zone         = "us-central1-c"
        boot_disk {
          initialize_params {
            image = "centos-cloud/centos-7"
        network_interface {
          network =
          access_config {
    3. Save and exit the file by pressing Escape followed by :wq.

    4. Finish up by running terraform init, terraform validate, terraform plan, and terraform apply.

The Cloud Content team comprises subject matter experts hyper focused on services offered by the leading cloud vendors (AWS, GCP, and Azure), as well as cloud-related technologies such as Linux and DevOps. The team is thrilled to share their knowledge to help you build modern tech solutions from the ground up, secure and optimize your environments, and so much more!

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