Spotlight on EKS

Written by Juan Ignacio Giro
Spotlight on #EKS

The use of containers makes deploying even the most complex apps easier, and, as we’ve discussed in too many articles to mention, Kubernetes takes the idea to a whole new level. The platform allows for workload and services to be managed in such a way that everything is compartmentalized and highly efficient. Most major cloud services have jumped onboard to support Kubernetes by now.

One of the latest to join the Kubernetes bandwagon is Amazon. We briefly covered the service while it was in beta, shortly after its initial release in a Kubernetes Managed Service comparison here. After testing the new Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes, or Amazon EKS for short, Amazon is now ready to sell EKS as a service. We thought we should go back and take a proper by putting EKS in the spotlight. How does EKS work? Will it add something to an already exciting Kubernetes landscape? That is what we are going to find out in this article.

What Is Amazon EKS?

Amazon EKS is designed to be a managed service that completely bypasses the need for an independent Kubernetes platform. Rather than using EC2 and the AWS ecosystem as a whole to create your own environment, you can now go straight to creating Kubernetes objects and get cracking with deploying your microservices and apps.

The main purpose of setting up Amazon EKS as a managed service is so you can forget about fiddling with the Kubernetes control plane—which can prove quite complex if you’re new to it. Amazon EKS already runs on multiple AWS Availability Zones, which means the entire ecosystem is very reliable. At the same time, you also benefit from automation and the legion of other features on offer from Amazon.

What Are the Benefits of EKS?

Speaking of the AWS Availability Zones, EKS is designed to work across multiple AZs from the ground up. The result is not only a more robust and reliable ecosystem, but you also have added flexibility when it comes to connecting your worker nodes with the provided control plane.

Another big advantage of using EKS is the improved security between worker nodes and the control plane itself. Amazon handles the security aspect of the connections, which means you have one less thing to worry about and more time to focus on the services you want to deploy.

Let’s not forget that Kubernetes was originally developed by Google, which is why seeing EKS out of beta and into production is fascinating on its own.

Amazon stays true to the Kubernetes principles and has designed the worker nodes—and any other implementation you do on your EKS—to be compatible with the standard Kubernetes environment.

To top it all off, there is the ease of use that was not before possible for working within AWS.

How Do You Get Started with Amazon EKS?

Getting started with Amazon EKS is incredibly easy. As mentioned before, many of the usual tasks that you need to handle manually are fully automated. When you create an EKS instance, it automatically provisions a cluster for that EKS, creates the default worker nodes on Amazon EC2, and connects those nodes to EKS, if you use AWS-provisioned CloudFormation templates.

You can then take the new EKS environment—already running on AWS and taking advantage of the available server resources—and start using it as a container for your microservices or apps. This level of automation allows you to jump ahead of the initial environment setup process.

The same automation also lets you go straight to configuring each Pod to your liking. When you need to set up multiple environments for different purposes, EKS is certainly a huge time-saver. It is also worth noting that you still get the same deep integration capabilities as you would when a Kubernetes environment is set up manually on AWS.

There is also the fact that EKS simplifies container orchestration at an incredible level. Setting up redundancies, doing load balancing, allocating resources to certain Pods, and provisioning new Pods for different purposes, can all be done from the Kube admin panel once you’ve used EKS to provision Kube Masters, with all the hard work done automatically in the background.

How Can EKS Be Used?

The possibilities are endless. Don’t forget that EKS is compatible with the standard Kubernetes environment, which means any Kubernetes app will run without a problem on top of EKS. There are even plans to allow Helm Charts enable the use of EKS-based templates to make things easier. You can develop a complex app using various microservices that run independently on EKS. You can also enjoy the immense scalability offered by EKS—and the AWS ecosystem as a whole—allowing you to handle any load and complex tasks with ease.

What’s great about EKS is that you can migrate an existing application without having to retool or make heavy adjustments. Simply set up the EKS environment to your preferences and you are good to go. Don’t get me started on the cost-efficiency level of EKS because then this article will be too long.

Amazon EKS is a move in the right direction for both Amazon and the Kubernetes community. Amazon is actively working with the communities around Kubernetes to make its new service better and easier to use. It is this type of collaboration that will bring Amazon EKS to more users.


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