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Table of contents
Anthos Clusters
Google Kubernetes Engine
On Bare Metal
Anthos attached Clusters
Logging and Monitoring
Fleet Management
Fleet Creation
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key benefits of Anthos?
What is the primary computing environment for Anthos?
How to secure and manage Anthos attached clusters?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Anthos Clusters

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Anthos is a platform that allows users to run applications on-premise in Google Cloud and other providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. It is a modern application management platform that provides consistent development and operations facilities for cloud and on-premises environments. Anthos is an umbrella covering multiple services and is marked differently from any other cloud service. The primary computing environment for Anthos is Anthos clusters, which extend GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine) on Google Cloud and on-premises, or multi-cloud installations in the environments that deploy the application.

Anthos Clusters

Anthos clusters offer a unified way to work with Kubernetes clusters as part of Anthos. It helps provide a consistent, and secure infrastructure cluster management with Anthos on Google Cloud, hybrid cloud, or multiple public clouds. Anthos clusters on-premises and on other public clouds are based on GKE. With attached clusters to Anthos, users can utilise some features on their existing systems even without a full migration to Anthos clusters. Attaching clusters helps users view them in the Google Cloud console along with GKE and Anthos clusters.

Anthos Cluster Environments are listed as follows.

  1. Anthos on Google Cloud - Google Cloud hosts the control plane, and the Kubernetes API server is the only component accessible to customers. GKE manages the node components in the customer's project using instances in Compute Engine.
  2. Anthos on-prem - All components are hosted in the customer's on-premises virtualisation environment.
  3. Anthos clusters on AWS - All components are hosted in the customer's AWS environment.
  4. Anthos on Azure - All components are hosted in the customer's Azure environment.

Google Kubernetes Engine

GKE provides an environment for deploying, managing, and scaling containerised applications using Google infrastructure. It consists of multiple machines grouped to form a cluster. GKE clusters are powered by Kubernetes, an open-source cluster management system. Kubernetes provides ways to interact with a cluster. Kubernetes commands and resources can deploy and manage applications, perform administration tasks and set policies for deployed workloads.

Using a GKE cluster provides additional features such as load-balancing for Compute Engine instances, Node pools and automatic scaling of the cluster's node instance count. It also provides automatic upgrades for the cluster's node software and node auto-repair to maintain health and availability.

GKE clusters can operate in two modes - Autopilot and Standard

Autopilot mode manages the entire cluster and node infrastructure for the user. It provides a hands-off Kubernetes experience and allows users to focus on workloads required to run their applications. Autopilot clusters are pre-configured with a configuration that is ready for production workloads.

Standard mode provides node configuration flexibility and complete control over managing clusters and node infrastructure. Users can determine the configurations needed for their production workloads and pay only for the nodes they use.

On Bare Metal

Anthos clusters on bare metal, a Google Distributed Cloud Virtual (GDC Virtual) component, brings Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to on-premises data centres. This allows users to create, manage, and upgrade Kubernetes clusters on their hardware in a data centre. Let us see the advantages of Anthos clusters on bare metal.

  • Anthos clusters on bare metal help deploy applications directly on hardware infrastructure to deliver the best performance and flexibility.
  • Anthos clusters on bare metal provide advanced monitoring of the health and performance of the environment to scale up applications while maintaining reliability.
  • Networks can be optimised for low latency for enterprise or network edge applications.
  • Anthos clusters on bare metal support multiple control nodes in a cluster, so if a master node fails, it is still possible to administer the environment.
  • Anthos clusters on bare metal can also work with lightweight, secure connections to Google APIs and allows managing clusters and applications from a central place with Connect and Cloud Monitoring.


Anthos clusters on AWS help manage GKE clusters running on AWS infrastructure through the Anthos Multi-Cloud API. It allows users to manage GKE clusters on Google Cloud and AWS from the Google Cloud console. While creating a cluster with Anthos clusters on AWS, Google creates the required AWS resources and brings up a cluster on behalf of the user. The workloads can be deployed with gcloud and kubectl command-line tools.

While setting up Anthos clusters on AWS, an AWS IAM role in the AWS account is also created with the required permissions. Anthos clusters on AWS provisions clusters via private subnets inside Google Cloud Virtual Private Cloud. Each cluster consists of a Control plane and Node pool.

The control plane uses a high-availability architecture with three replicas.Each replica runs Kubernetes components like kube-apiserver, kube-controller-manager and kube-scheduler. Each instance stores data in an EBS volume. It uses a network interface to communicate with other instances. 

A node pool is a group of Kubernetes worker nodes with a similar configuration, instance type, disk configuration, and instance profile. All nodes of a node pool run on the same subnet. Multiple node pools can be set across different subnets in the same Google Cloud region for high availability.


Anthos Clusters on Azure are similar to Anthos Clusters on AWS. Anthos clusters on Azure help provision, operate and scale Kubernetes clusters with an Azure account. It uses Azure APIs to provision the resources required by a cluster, including virtual machines, managed disks, network security groups, and load balancers. 

While setting up Anthos clusters on Azure, we create an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) application and service principal with the required permissions. Anthos clusters on Azure provisions clusters using private subnets inside the Azure Virtual Private Cloud. Like AWS, each cluster consists of a control plane and node pools.

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Anthos attached Clusters

This involves attaching Kubernetes clusters running in Azure Kubernetes Service, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service and other third-party services to Anthos in Google Cloud. This allows users to view existing Kubernetes clusters in the Google Cloud console along with Anthos clusters and enable several Anthos features such as centralised configuration control and microservice architecture management. These are managed by Anthos Config Management and Anthos Service Mesh. Following are the cluster types and versions validated by Google. 

Following are the cluster types and versions validated by Google.

Registering all clusters to be used with Anthos to the project's fleet is a crucial step. A fleet refers to logically grouping and normalising Kubernetes clusters, making infrastructure administration easier. Fleet clusters can be browsed and managed together in the console. All attached clusters require an identity during authenticating to Google. After registering an attached cluster, it appears in the GKE and Anthos clusters pages in the Google Cloud console.

Logging and Monitoring

It is possible to export logs and metrics from an Anthos attached cluster to Cloud Logging and Cloud Monitoring. To export cluster-level telemetry from an attached cluster into Google Cloud, open source export agents like Stackdriver Log Aggregator, Stackdriver Log Forwarder and Stackdriver Metrics Collector need to be deployed in the cluster. Logs for the attached cluster can be viewed in the Cloud Logging dashboard on the Google Cloud console. Successfully executing cluster metrics can be viewed in Cloud Monitoring.


Troubleshooting helps diagnose issues when running Anthos components on attached clusters. Any problem with an Anthos component on an attached cluster can be checked to know what's happening in the underlying clusters.

Fleet Management

Fleet refers to a logical grouping of Kubernetes clusters and other resources that can be managed together. Anthos in Google Cloud uses the concept of a fleet to simplify the management of multi-cluster deployments. Fleets provide a way to logically group clusters to make infrastructure administration easier. It can be entirely made up of GKE clusters or include clusters outside Google Cloud. Adopting fleets helps organisations manage individual clusters and entire groups of clusters.

Users can choose a connect gateway or the Anthos Identity Service for consistent and secure authentication to clusters in a fleet. The Connect gateway helps provide a consistent way to connect to and run commands against registered clusters from the command line. This makes it simpler to automate DevOps tasks across multiple clusters. Anthos Identity Service allows users to configure fleet clusters to log in with their existing third-party ID and password.

Fleet Creation

Creating a fleet involves registering the clusters needed to manage a fleet in the chosen fleet host project. Some cluster types are automatically registered at the time of cluster creation, while others must be manually registered. While adding a cluster outside Google Cloud to a fleet, a Connect Agent is installed on the cluster to establish control plane connectivity between the cluster and Google Cloud. 

Once a cluster is registered to a fleet, it becomes a fleet member. All clusters must have a unique name as fleets can include clusters from multiple projects and environments. This is sometimes called a fleet membership name in commands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key benefits of Anthos?

Anthos provides an excellent container management platform based on Kubernetes. Developers can quickly use this platform to build and deploy container-based applications and microservices architectures. Anthos also includes Migrate to Containers, which allows users to control migrations using Kubernetes. It provides a centralised and efficient deployment environment that can enforce cluster security standards.

What is the primary computing environment for Anthos?

The primary computing environment for Anthos uses Anthos clusters. It extends Google Kubernetes Engine for use on Google Cloud, on-premises, or multi-cloud to manage Kubernetes installations in the environments where users intend to deploy their applications.

How to secure and manage Anthos attached clusters?

Policy Controller and Anthos Service Mesh can be used to apply security and network configurations across all cluster configurations. Using the Connect Gateway to connect to clusters across environments without proxies or firewall rules is recommended to manage Anthos attached clusters.


This blog discusses Anthos Clusters on GCP in detail. It describes the various cluster environments and Anthos attached Clusters in Google Cloud. It also briefly describes fleet management and creations for clusters.

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