Simply deploying to private GKE cluster from Cloud Build

2022-03-31 − 🏷 devops

I recently came back to Google’s Cloud Platform after some years on other cloud platforms, and as part of my work there I had the requirement to setup a secure GCP cluster for some workloads. Google engineers have provided a nice blueprint for this using a IAP Proxy Bastion host for external access, which works well for safe access from developer machines and allows you to limit Identity Aware Proxy access by GCP Security Groups.

Basically you establish a IAP ssh tunnel to a Tinyproxy running on the bastion host, and then set the proxy in your kube config:

$ kubectl config set clusters.$context_name.proxy-url http://localhost:8888

Of course, we also wanted to deploy to the cluster in an automated fashion, and as Cloud Build already was the CI of choice, I set out to reach the cluster from there. Luckily Google has somewhat recently added support for private worker pools so in theory this should be easy. However we hit a snag. Because the workers aren’t actually running inside your VPC and neither is the Kubernetes engine control plane, there’s a restriction on transient VPC traffic. Google Architecture Center provides a workaround using HA VPNs and separate VPCs, but I found this to be a convoluted setup, and was worrying about maintaining a BGP routed VPN tunnel inside a single Google project.

After digging a bit, I found a much simpler solution. Since we already have a proxy on the Bastion host, you can simply extend it to support traffic from the builder internal network range as well. We have to add the allowed range to Tinyproxy in the startup script:

%{for cidr in var.bastion_allowed_ranges}
  echo "Allow ${cidr}" >> /etc/tinyproxy/tinyproxy.conf
systemctl restart tinyproxy

And also add a firewall policy for the provided range(s):

resource "google_compute_firewall" "allow_bastion" {
  count   = length(var.bastion_allowed_ranges) > 0 ? 1 : 0
  name    = "allow-bastion-proxy"
  network = module.vpc.network_self_link
  project = module.enabled_google_apis.project_id
  allow {
    protocol = "tcp"
    ports    = ["8888"]
  target_tags   = ["bastion"]
  source_ranges = var.bastion_allowed_ranges

Now your cloud builder will be able to reach the control plane via the proxy just by setting proxy-url like in my first example. The reason this works is that the bastion host resides inside our VPC and thus is available directly from our cloud build pool.