Deploying and accessing a GCP SQL database via Kubernetes

June 8, 2020   

Sorry for the long preamble, feel free to just skip straight to the technical details.

Two years ago, faced with the challenge of wanting to reduce the tooling required to deploy infrastructure to Google Cloud I started working on a Google Cloud Operator. The goal of this project was to be able to stand up networks, images, and Virtual Machines for installing Pivotal’s PKS (now Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated).

This worked out pretty well for me and I was able to create/destroy environments at will seeded from a single node GKE cluster running the operator.

Thankfully later some folks at Google started working on an Operator of their own which they named Google Config Connector which sought to solve roughly the same problem. Although their original intent was more around backing services for Kubernetes workloads such as databases.

As they brought in additional features I was able to start offloading some of the work my own operator was doing to GCC, however only recently did they support the full set of services that I require.

Recently I’ve been doing some work around running applications on Kubernetes and been thinking about how I want to handle databases in Dev vs Prod. Using a tool like Helm or ytt I could in theory have a flag that determines whether it should create a Postgres deployment in Kubernetes, or a CloudSQL instance.

I hadn’t actually used the Google Config Connector operator to stand up a Database to be accessed from inside a GKE cluster, so I figured that would be the natural place to start.

Unfortunately I found gaps in both the GCC examples and the CloudSQL documentation.

I could get the database running easily enough but I just could not get applications running on GKE to access it over the Private IP. Finally I found this statement For connecting using private IP, the GKE cluster must be VPC-native and in the same VPC network as the Cloud SQL instance..

Doing some digging it became apparent that GKE clusters are not VPC-native by default. I also found that SQL Instances actually never live in your VPC and you need to allocate an IP Range to peering in that network and set up a Service Network Connection.

With that figured out I was able to successfully create a new GKE cluster, install GCC, and deploy and use a Cloud SQL instance over its private IP.

Deploying a CloudSQL instance via GCC

If you want to refer to a ytt templated version of the manifests created below you can find a fully working example (that also includes Google SQL Proxy) here.

Create GKE Cluster

Before we do anything we need to ensure a few of the Google Cloud APIs are enabled.

gcloud services enable \ \ \

Some of our commands require your Google Cloud Project ID, you can find it and save it as a variable for later use like so:

PROJECT_ID=$(gcloud config get-value project)

Create a Small GKE Cluster using --workload-pool to enable workload identity and --enable-ip-alias to create a VPC-native cluster:

gcloud container clusters create gcc-cloudsql \
  --num-nodes=1 --zone us-central1-c \
  --cluster-version 1.16 --machine-type n1-standard-2 \
  --workload-pool=${PROJECT_ID} \

Check the cluster is accessible:

kubectl cluster-info

In order for Applications in GKE to access the Private IP of CloudSQL instances you need to create a VPC Peering Range and a Service Networking Connection.

This only has to be done once per Network in your account.

Create a VPC Peering range:

gcloud compute addresses create cloudsql-peer \
    --global \
    --purpose=VPC_PEERING \
    --prefix-length=16 \
    --description="peering range for CloudSQL" \
    --network=default \

Peer that range with our default network:

gcloud services vpc-peerings connect \ \
    --ranges=cloudsql-peer \
    --network=default \

If this command fails with Cannot modify allocated ranges in CreateConnection then rerun the command but replace connect with update --force.

Deploy Google Config Connector

Create a service account for GCC:

gcloud iam service-accounts create cnrm-system

Bind the roles/owner to the service account:

gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding ${PROJECT_ID} \
  --member="serviceAccount:cnrm-system@${PROJECT_ID}" \

Bind roles/iam.workloadIdentityUser to the cnrm-controller-manager Kubernetes Service Account in the cnrm-system Namespace:

gcloud iam service-accounts add-iam-policy-binding \
  --role="roles/iam.workloadIdentityUser" \
  --member="serviceAccount:${PROJECT_ID}[cnrm-system/cnrm-controller-manager]" \

Download GCC:

gsutil cp gs://cnrm/latest/release-bundle.tar.gz release-bundle.tar.gz

Extract GCC:

tar zxvf release-bundle.tar.gz

Update the manifest with your project id:

sed -i.bak "s/\${PROJECT_ID?}/${PROJECT_ID}/" \

Apply the manifest to your cluster:

kubectl apply -f install-bundle-workload-identity/

Wait until GCC is fully online:

kubectl wait -n cnrm-system --for=condition=Ready pod --all

Deploy CloudSQL Instance

Create a Namespace:

kubectl create namespace $PROJECT_ID

Create the Cloud SQL Instance:

kubectl -n $PROJECT_ID apply -f <(cat << EOF
kind: SQLInstance
  name: example
  region: us-central1
  databaseVersion: POSTGRES_9_6
    tier: db-custom-1-3840
      ipv4Enabled: false
      requireSsl: false
        external: default

Create a Cloud SQL User:

kubectl -n $PROJECT_ID apply -f <(cat << EOF
kind: SQLUser
  name: example
    name: example
    value: "bad-password"

After a few moments check that the SQL Instance is being created:

watch gcloud sql instances list

Once the STATUS changes from PENDING_CREATE to RUNNABLE hit CTRL-C to exit the watch command.

We should now be able to confirm that an Application running in the GKE cluster can access the database. To validate this we can use the postgres:13-alpine image.

Run the postgres image as a Pod with an interactive shell:

kubectl run -ti --restart=Never --image postgres:13-alpine --rm psql -- sh

Inside that shell run psql:

Change the IP to match the IP from the gcloud sql instances list command. Enter the password bad-password when prompted

$ psql -h --username=example -d postgres
Password for user example: bad-password
psql (13beta1, server 9.6.16)
SSL connection (protocol: TLSv1.3, cipher: TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384, bits: 256, compression: off)
Type "help" for help.


That’s it! Super easy and powerful way to get a managed database provisioned and usable without ever leaving Kubernetes.

If you want to make things even more Kubernetes friendly you can use Google’s SQL Proxy inside your Kubernetes cluster which helps manage your SSL Connections to the databases as well as being able to use predictable names rather than hunting for IP addresses.

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