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Using the Cloud Ops Agent in Google Compute Engine Instances

Google Compute Engine (GCE) offers scalable virtual machines (VMs) for applications. The new Cloud Ops Agent helps you manage the performance of these VMs.

Jun 08, 2023 • 5 Minute Read

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Google Compute Engine (GCE) is one of the leading cloud computing platforms that offers scalable and highly available virtual machines (VMs) for running applications

In order to monitor and manage the performance and resource usage of these VMs, it is important to collect logs and usage metrics. However, this can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with a large number of VMs.

Fear not, though, the wonderful folks at Google Cloud have a solution for you – the Cloud Ops Agent! 

The Cloud Ops Agent is a tool that provides a centralized and unified solution for collecting, processing, and analyzing logs and metrics from your GCE instances.

Some of the benefits of using the Cloud Ops Agent include:

  • Centralized log collection: Collected logs from your GCE instances are sent to a centralized location for easy access and analysis. This eliminates both the need for manual log collection and the risk of missing important logs.
  • Real-time monitoring: Logs and usage metrics are collected in real-time, allowing you to monitor your GCE instances and respond to any issues in a timely manner.
  • Customizable metrics collection: Custom metrics can be collected, allowing you to track specific performance and resource usage metrics that are important to your applications.
  • Scalable and highly available: The Cloud Ops Agent is designed to be scalable and highly available, making it easy to manage even the largest GCE deployments.

You may be saying to yourself, “This sounds great but how do we actually install the Cloud Ops agent to reap some of these benefits?” For that, we have a couple of different options such as the Google Cloud Console or directly through the command line of your virtual machine instance. Let’s run through both of these below! 

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How to install the Cloud Ops Agent using the Google Cloud Console:

For this, there are two approaches. 


  • Go to the VM instances page within the Compute Engine Service
  • Click the instance to install the agent on
  • Click the observability tab
  • Select “Install OPS Agent” and follow the prompts 


  • Go to Dashboards page within the Monitoring service
  • Select the VM instances dashboard
  • Select the checkbox next to the instance(s) to install the agent on, then select Install/Update Agents and follow the prompts

How to install the Cloud Ops Agent on the Command Line:

  1. Use the Cloud Shell or another SSH client to connect to the machine
  2. Change to a directory that you have write access to (i.e., your home directory)
  3. Run the following commands:
curl -sSO
sudo bash --also-install

Once the Cloud Ops Agent is installed it will start collecting additional system usage metrics by default. It can, however, collect additional logs and metrics by creating a configuration file that specifies the data to gather. 

Now that the agent is installed and collecting logs and metrics, the data can be sent to a centralized location such as Google Cloud Logging, Stackdriver Monitoring, or a third-party logging and monitoring tool. This gives a lot of flexibility to users whether you subscribe to the entire Google Cloud ecosystem or you already have a logging and monitoring solution. 

The Cloud Ops Agent is a valuable tool for monitoring and managing GCE instances. By collecting logs and usage metrics in a centralized and unified manner, it makes it easier to monitor and respond to issues, and to make informed decisions about your cloud infrastructure.

Whether you are managing a small or large GCE deployment, the Cloud Ops Agent can help you to get the most out of your cloud investment. If you would like to learn more about the Cloud Ops Agent, Compute Engine, and other supporting services offered by Google Cloud, please check out my course, Running Linux Servers on Google Cloud, at A Cloud Guru.