EKS quickstart


Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS) makes it easy to deploy, manage, and scale containerised applications using Kubernetes on AWS. Amazon EKS runs the Kubernetes management infrastructure for you across multiple AWS availability zones to eliminate a single point of failure. Amazon EKS is certified Kubernetes conformant so you can use existing tooling and plugins from partners and the Kubernetes community. Applications running on any standard Kubernetes environment are fully compatible and can be easily migrated to Amazon EKS. Amazon EKS is generally available for all AWS customers since June 2018.

Companies like Verizon, GoDaddy, Snapchat and SkyScanner are adopting Amazon EKS.

eks 2

EKS has three master nodes that are managed by AWS


It is possible to provision an EKS cluster with terraform but I’d recommend using eksctlas it seems to be the easiest way of provisioning the testing cluster and fetching the auth credentials for kubectl at the moment.

$ eksctl create cluster --name=test-cluster --nodes-min=2 --nodes-max=5 --node-type=m5.large --region=us-east-1  --kubeconfig /Users/you/.kube/config.eks

Hit enter and go put the kettle on. It will take about 10 minutes to fully provision the cluster so there's time for tea.

Make sure your kubectl is no older than 1.10 and verify your kubectl can query the k8s API.

$ export KUBECONFIG=/Users/you/.kube/config.eks
$ kubectl get pods 
No resources found.


Install helm on the cluster

Helm is a Kubernetes package manager and a great way for managing kubernetes releases. Next step is to install helm tiller (the server part of helm) on the cluster.

$ cat rbac.yaml

apiVersion: v1

kind: ServiceAccount


 name: tiller

 namespace: kube-system

apiVersion: v1

kind: ClusterRoleBinding

apiVersion: rbac.authorization.k8s.io/v1beta1


 name: tiller-role-binding


 kind: ClusterRole

 name: cluster-admin

 apiGroup: rbac.authorization.k8s.io


- kind: ServiceAccount

 name: tiller

 namespace: kube-system

$ kubectl create -f rbac.yaml

serviceaccount/tiller created

clusterrolebinding.rbac.authorization.k8s.io/tiller-role-binding created

$ helm init --upgrade --service-account tiller

Install wordpress with helm

We will use the latest stable helm chart for Wordpress https://github.com/helm/charts/tree/master/stable/wordpress

First, create a storageClass so that we can provision a persistent volume with EBS dynamically for MariaDB and Wordpress.

$ cat storage-class.yaml
kind: StorageClass
apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1
  name: gp2
    storageclass.kubernetes.io/is-default-class: "true"
provisioner: kubernetes.io/aws-ebs
  type: gp2
reclaimPolicy: Retain
  - debug
$ kubectl create -f storage-class.yaml
storageclass.storage.k8s.io/gp2 created

Then install the release (for some reason the mariadb’s pvc is not picking up the default gp2 storageClass so we will overwrite it manually, I am assuming it is a bug in the helm chart, I’ll take a look at it later)

$ helm install --name wordpress stable/wordpress --set mariadb.master.persistence.storageClass=gp2

Wait a bit for the ELB to get provisioned and open the following url in the browser.

$ open http://$(kubectl get svc wordpress-wordpress -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[*].hostname}')

Install guestbook

We will install a kubernetes demo application called guestbook. Guestbook is a simple application written in PHP using a Redis cluster to store Guest messages.


$ curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/netmail/eksctl-demo/master/install-guestbook.sh | bash

Wait again for the ELB to get provisioned and open the following url:

$ open http://$(kubectl get svc guestbook -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[*].hostname}'):3000

Notice the colour changes with every time you refresh the page.


Now you can easily delete the cluster with eksctl

eksctl delete  cluster test-cluster


EKS seems to be quite behind AKS and GKE. The future spec of the service is still a bit uncertain, so comparing EKS to AKS or GKE might not even be relevant. GKE and AKS are free (you don’t pay for the master nodes as of September 2018), EKS is charged $0.20 per hour per cluster.

So far EKS is still available in Oregon and North Virginia only. EC2 is the only offered mode. We're still waiting for Fargate to be a GA on EKS. EC2 autoscaling is not the most convenient, as it uses CPU to scale in-out, but it wouldn’t scale up if there is a pod pending for example because it wouldn’t fit the needs of resource request. On GKE, there is a Cluster Autoscaler to handle the autoscaling of the underlying “IaaS”, on EKS, you have to deploy and handle this yourself.

Working with eksctl is quite smooth, easier than using heptio-authenticator. Definitely check out the tool.