How to run with Endpoints for Compute Engine with ESP

This describes how to deploy a simple example gRPC server with the Extensible Server Proxy (ESP) through a Docker container in Google Compute Engine.

This page is based on this Google’s documentation with more detailed references. In this page we describes the steps specific for the example with appfl.

As prerequisites, we need create a Compute Engine instance

Configuring Endpoints

As this service requires .proto file, we first clone the package repository:

git clone

The example we use in this page is located in APPFL/examples/gcloud.

cd APPFL/examples/gcloud

Creating a self-contained protobuf descriptor file

We create a protobuf descriptor file from ../../src/appfl/protos/federated_learning.proto file. To this end, we create the following directory

mkdir generated_pb2

and create the descriptor file api_descriptor.pb by running the command below:

python -m grpc_tools.protoc \
    --include_imports \
    --include_source_info \
    --proto_path=../../src/appfl/protos \
    --descriptor_set_out=api_descriptor.pb \
    --python_out=generated_pb2 \
    --grpc_python_out=generated_pb2 \

Creating a gRPC API configuration YAML file

We need to create the configuration file api_config.yaml. We provide the simple working example below:

type: google.api.Service
config_version: 3

name: appfl.endpoints.<YOUR_PROJECT_ID>

- name: FederatedLearning

The value of name becomes the API service name, and the value of should match with the service name defined in .proto file.

Deploying the Endpoints configuration

Follow the steps in this page.

Deploying the API backend

Follow the steps to install Docker on the VM instance.

We provide the the Docker commands below to run the example API and ESP in a Docker container, customized from the Google documentation. The following commands are run on the Google Compute Engine VM instance.

  1. On the VM instance, create a container network

    sudo docker network create --driver bridge esp_net
  2. Run the APPFL gRPC server Docker container with the name of appfl-test on the network esp_net. The last line replaces the default CMD value defined in the Docker container.

    sudo docker run \
    --detach \
    --name=appfl-test \
    --net=esp_net \$GCP_PROJECT/appfl-test:latest \
    python3 --nclients=3
  3. Run the ESP Docker container provided by Google. By --publish, port 80 will be exposed and connected to HTTP2 port 9000.

    sudo docker run \
    --detach \
    --name=esp \
    --publish=80:9000 \
    --net=esp_net \ \
    --service=appfl.endpoints.<YOUR_PROJECT_ID> \
    --rollout_strategy=managed \
    --http2_port=9000 \

Launching a client

Find the external IP address for the gRPC Endpoints:

gcloud compute instances list

Launching a client to connect to the Endpoints requires to use API key. Follow the steps to create an API key to run a client. A client can start the federated learning by running the command below with the API key copyandpasteyourapikeyhere:

python \
--port=80 \
--client_id=1 \
--nclients=3 \