Advanced Cluster Options for GKE
Standard vs Autopilot
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In this course, you will learn about some of the more advanced options available when creating a Google Kubernetes Engine cluster.

Learning Objectives

You will learn the main differences between:

  • Standard vs. Autopilot clusters
  • Private vs. Public clusters
  • Zonal vs. Regional clusters
  • Routes-based vs. VPC-native clusters

Intended Audience

  • GCP Network Engineers
  • GCP Security Engineers
  • Anyone preparing for a Google Cloud certification (such as the Professional Cloud Network Engineer exam)


  • Basic understanding of Kubernetes and GKE
  • Some experience building and deploying containers



Congratulations, you made it to the end of the course.  Before I wrap things up, let’s do a quick review of everything that was covered.

First, I talked about the differences between Standard and Autopilot clusters.  Autopilot is great for quickly creating secure and scalable clusters.  You don’t have to sweat the details as they already are configured with Google’s best practices.  However, if you need to be able to tinker with all the options, you might create a Standard cluster instead.  This will give you access to everything, and works best for someone who needs to be able to manually tune their cluster.

Second, I talked about public and private clusters.  A public cluster is the default, but it’s not as secure.  You can directly access all the nodes and the control plane.  You can add a little more security to a public cluster by enabling authorized networks.  A private cluster cuts off all direct access to the nodes, making them a lot more secure.  You also can help secure the control plane by either enabling authorized networks or by completely disabling the public endpoint.

Third, I ran through the differences between Zonal and Regional clusters.  Zonal clusters are cheaper to run and faster to modify but are not as resilient to downtime.  Regional clusters can stay available with having a whole zone go down or during upgrades.  So they are best used for running production systems.

Finally, I covered the differences between Routes-based vs. VPC-native clusters.  The best summary for this section is: always use VPC-native clusters.  Route-based requires a bunch of manual configuration and management.  VPC-native means that all the complicated routing stuff is handled for you.  They make everything natively routable, prevent IP conflicts, and don’t consume your static route quota.

Well, that’s all I have for you today.  Remember to give this course a rating, and if you have any questions or comments, please let us know.  Thanks for watching, and make sure to check out our many other courses on Cloud Academy!

About the Author
Learning Paths

Daniel began his career as a Software Engineer, focusing mostly on web and mobile development. After twenty years of dealing with insufficient training and fragmented documentation, he decided to use his extensive experience to help the next generation of engineers.

Daniel has spent his most recent years designing and running technical classes for both Amazon and Microsoft. Today at Cloud Academy, he is working on building out an extensive Google Cloud training library.

When he isn’t working or tinkering in his home lab, Daniel enjoys BBQing, target shooting, and watching classic movies.

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