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Hands-on labs playlist for learning GCP essentials

This post covers hands-on labs that will help you get real-life experience with GCP. These labs will give you practice with several key GCP services.

Jun 08, 2023 • 5 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • Learning & Development

This post highlights hands-on labs that will help you get real-life experience with Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These labs will give you hands-on practice with some fundamental GCP concepts and several key GCP services.

You’ve got to hand it to hands. From snapping to stealing someone’s nose to dramatically pointing to indicate an alleged criminal is in the courtroom today, those functional fingered fixtures really come in handy. They’re also essential for learning Google Cloud Platform (or GCP).

Why? Because getting hands-on with the cloud is crucial to understanding the cloud. That’s why A Cloud Guru offers a massive library of hands-on labs. These guided exercises let you get your hands cloudy as they walk you through real-world objectives in safe cloud environments.

In this blog post, we’ll share ACG hands-on labs that are perfect for Google Cloud newcomers looking to pick up GCP essentials.

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Note: To get started with the hands-on labs below, you’ll need to have an ACG account. Don’t have an account? Start a free trial. You can also sign up for a free account and start learning with this month’s free courses, including the one-hour Google Cloud Concepts course, a quick primer ideal for GCP newcomers.

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Duration: 45 minutes

Description: Compute Engine VM instances can utilize a wide range of boot disks, and Google Cloud offers 50+ disk images to choose from. Cloud pros must be adept at spinning up a variety of operating systems. In this hands-on lab, you’ll experience the creation of a Windows-based Compute Engine VM instance, set up an IIS server, and push your first web page live to confirm the server’s operation.

Already an ACG member? Try this lab here.


  • Create a Compute Engine VM instance.
  • Set Windows password.
  • Launch RDP window.
  • Install IIS and test your page.

Duration: 30 minutes

Description: Saving an object in a Cloud Storage bucket is pretty cheap. But it’s not free. Cost varies depending on the storage class selected. Certain objects are required to be more available at first, requiring the storage class with the highest availability (and cost). These objects may eventually be moved to less available/less pricey storage classes and, even, be deleted. Management of these objects over time can be handled automatically by establishing and implementing lifecycle rules. In this hands-on lab, we’ll set a variety of lifecycle rules for Google Cloud Storage buckets both from the console and the command line.

Have an ACG account? Start this lab here.


  • Create a Cloud Storage bucket.
  • Define lifecycle rules.
  • From command line, get lifecycle rules.
  • Set lifecycle rule with JSON file.

Duration: 60 minutes

Description: When working with Cloud SQL, you’ll need to manage multiple instances: creating, cloning, starting, stopping, restarting, and deleting them. This hands-on lab gives you the experience of performing these tasks so you’ll be familiar with the steps necessary to handle Cloud SQL instances.  

ACG member? Get hands-on right here.


  • Create an instance.
  • Create a database.
  • Clone the instance.
  • Stop, start, and restart an instance.
  • Delete an instance.

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Duration: 45 minutes

Description: Custom networks allow custom subnets and firewall rules, meaning you can completely control access to your resources. In this hands-on lab, you’ll use the Google Cloud Shell to create a Cloud VPC network with two subnets, firewall rules that allow SSH ingress, and Compute Engine VM instances that connect to the subnets. Once the network and resources are established, you’ll test the connectivity of the networks via an SSH terminal.

ACG member? Start this lab now.


  • Activate Cloud Shell.
  • Create the Custom Network and Subnets.
  • Define the Firewall Rule.
  • Spin Up the VM Instances and test Via SSH.

Recommended next steps to learning GCP essentials

New to ACG? You can grab a 7-day free trial and get started learning now. Or sign up for a free ACG account and work your way through our rotating lineup of free cloud courses.

When you’ve finished with these hands-on labs, you may want to validate your GCP knowledge and become a Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer. Wondering what the deal is with certifications and which Google Cloud certification is best for you? Hop over here for all the details. The short of it is: our GCP ACE course will help you learn the basics of GCP and develop the hands-on skills you need to ace the GCP ACE exam.

From there, you can explore our library of GCP cloud training and continue on your way to some of the top-paying certifications and jobs in cloud. And — most importantly — keep being awesome, cloud gurus!

Level up your career in the cloud

Ready to level up your cloud skills? Get started with ACG for free. A Cloud Guru’s learn-by-doing approach will help you master the cloud and advance in your career.