Cloud/?Google Compute Engine Image lists for Google Compute Engine

Official Debian Images

(Work in Progress)

For discussion about Debian on various cloud providers, please visit Debian-Cloud mailing list.

Building a GoogleComputeEngineImage

To build a Debian image for Google Compute Engine, follow these instructions:

  1. Request access to Google Compute Engine

    • If you want to help with the Cloud/GoogleComputeEngineImage effort and don't already have Google Compute Engine space to work in, contact David( and Jimmy ( Be sure to provide the following information in your email:

      • A description of how you can help
      • The name of your Google account (Google Apps and consumer accounts are both fine)
      We will add people to the appropriate projects, within certain constraints. See "Access To Test Account for Debian Developers" below for more information.
  2. Create images using our github fork on any Linux machine

    • Example command line (root access is needed for the loopback mounting process):
      • # Either squeeze or wheezy should work.
      • sudo ./build-debian-cloud gce --codename squeeze --volume-size 10
  3. Follow the steps to upload and use a custom image

    • The image will end up in the same directory. From there, follow the steps to upload and use a custom image in Google Compute Engine, beginning with step 4 here: Once official Debian images are published via the debian-cloud project, end users will be able to use them simply by adding a suitable --image option when creating their instance, e.g.

      • gcutil addinstance mynewinstance --image=projects/debian-cloud/gloabal/images/<image-name>

      Note the linked instructions tell you to run:
      • gcutil --project=<project-id> addimage <image-name> <image-uri> --preferred_kernel=/projects/google/global/kernels/<kernel-name>

      To find the correct <kernal-name>, you can either use kernel gce-v20130325 which appears to be Google's latest build or choose from a list of available kernels:

      • gcutil listkernels --project=google (rather than your own project)

Image Build Script

Anders Ingemann has created a build script for bootstrapping instances that runs automatically and needs no user interaction. You can also attach custom scripts to the script as well. Download or clone the script on github. Any bugs or suggestions should be reported via the github issue tracker.

Using An Image

To use an image, use the gcutil tool and provide the --image flag in your request:

gcutil --project=<project-id> addinstance <instance-name> --image=projects/debian-cloud/global/images/<image-name>

Listing All Images

To list all available Debian Google Compute Engine images, use gcutil listimages:

gcutil --project=debian-cloud listimages

Deprecated Images

As Google Compute Engine releases new images, we may deprecate and eventually remove older images. When this happens, Google Compute Engine sets the deprecation status on an image and if your instances or disks uses a deprecated image, you will need to restart them with a newer, non-deprecated image.

Use the gcutil tool to list images and review their deprecation status, if any.

gcutil --project=debian-cloud listimages

A list of deprecation statuses are available in the Images reference documentation.

Future Plans

User-contributed images



GCE project

Image Name

Kernel ID















Notes on Kernel

You may notice that all Google Compute Engine images are booted using an injected Linux 3.3.8 kernel using a configuration to reduce security vulnerabilities. Most notably, that configuration disables modules and access to /dev/mem. We are working to add support for booting from arbitrary kernels, as we know it’s an important freedom. In the meantime, /proc/config.gz will show the enabled options. Kernel source code is available here:

SSH user accounts

One intentional difference from the Amazon EC2 images is that, instead of sshing in via a default “admin” account, we install a cron job in /etc/cron.d to manage accounts in line with the Google Compute Engine documentation. See here for how ssh works:

GCE Documentation

Google Compute Engine home page, including documentation:

Google Contacts

If you have any questions, concerns, or general feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact the Google Compute team ( or David ?McWherter ( or me ( or directly about this effort.

Access to test account, for Debian Developers interested in testing, or working on official images

The Google GCE team has created two projects for Debian’s use for Google Compute Engine. Billing for Compute and Storage has been waived on these projects. The first project, ‘debian-cloud’ is intended for pushing new images for customers. The second project ‘debian-cloud-experiments’ is intended for Debian volunteers to experiment with the project. It has a small quota and must be shared. We can work with Debian to maintain who can use these projects, or we can push management off to trusted parties in Debian. Google Compute Engine is working toward toward general availability, so over time it will become easier for anyone to get involved.