AWS Elastic Container Architecture AWS

Amazon EKS Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes Now Available

Called Amazon EKS, the long-awaited services will let enterprise users configure, manage and run their Kubernetes deployments on AWS more easily than doing it themselves.

Running the Kubernetes container management platform on Amazon Web Services will now be easier for enterprises under AWS' latest offering — the Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes, commonly called Amazon EKS.

EKS now is generally available for production use after being unveiled as a concept during Amazon's re:Invent 2017 conference, according to a June 5 post on the AWS News Blog by Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS.

"Based on the most recent data from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, we know that AWS is the leading environment for Kubernetes, with 57 percent of all companies who run Kubernetes choosing to do so on AWS," wrote Barr. "Customers tell us that Kubernetes is core to their IT strategy and are already running hundreds of millions of containers on AWS every week."

The new Amazon EKS will help with those deployments, he wrote, by simplifying the process of building, securing, operating and maintaining Kubernetes clusters without having to set up a Kubernetes cluster from scratch.

"Amazon EKS takes advantage of the fact that it is running in the AWS Cloud, making great use of many AWS services and features, while ensuring that everything you already know about Kubernetes remains applicable and helpful," wrote Barr.

Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, told Channel Futures that "for AWS customers that want to deploy Kubernetes containers and workloads in the cloud, EKS could be a pretty good deal" because it makes the process easier.

Charles King

"While the original version of EKS was basically set up for experimentation, AWS says this new release is ready for production," said King.

But can this new offering help the channel support its customers?

"That's difficult to say unless a channel player offers customers help with planning and deploying cloud-based services, including AWS," said King. "That could be helpful since despite AWS efforts to simplify Kubernetes cluster management, the process could be baffling to companies with limited IT resources. Then again, I'm not sure how many organizations would consider Kubernetes in the first place."

Overall, "EKS is a great example of AWS being AWS," said King. "The organization gets dinged occasionally for being late to the game with cutting-edge, new technologies and for offering a bafflingly large variety of services."

That could be the case here, said King, especially for enterprise IT shops that prefer to deploy and manage Kubernetes in-house.

"But for businesses already working with AWS or those considering its service offerings, EKS could be an attractive option," he added.

Eric Hanselman, an analyst with Forrester, said the EKS managed service could be viewed positively by enterprises that are comfortable running their workloads off premises.

"Enterprises are seeing significant demand for containers from their development teams and the challenge they often face is in delivering container infrastructure to support those needs," said Hanselman. "Because of the early stage of adoption of containers in enterprises, there are going to be more test and development use cases that would be suitable for Amazon's service."

Amazon EKS is designed to automatically manage the availability and scalability of the Kubernetes control-plane nodes that are responsible for starting and stopping containers, scheduling containers on virtual machines, storing cluster data and other tasks, according to Amazon. Amazon EKS automatically detects and replaces unhealthy control-plane nodes for each cluster and manages Kubernetes version upgrades.

Amazon EKS allows users to access the performance, scale, reliability and availability of the AWS platform, as well as integrations with AWS networking and security services, such as Application Load Balancers for load distribution, IAM for role-based access control, and other services.

In addition, Amazon EKS is fully compatible with Kubernetes community tools and supports popular Kubernetes add-ons, including KubeDNS to create a DNS service for a cluster, the Kubernetes Dashboard web-based UI and the kubectl command-line tool to access and manage clusters on Amazon EKS.

Pricing for Amazon EKS starts at 20 cents per hour for each Amazon EKS cluster created. A single Amazon EKS cluster can be used to run multiple applications by taking advantage of Kubernetes namespaces and IAM security policies.

Users pay for AWS resources such as EC2 instances or EBS volumes that are used to run the involved Kubernetes worker nodes. They pay only for the resources they use, as they are used, with no minimum fees or upfront commitments required.

The Amazon EKS service runs the Kubernetes management infrastructure for users across multiple AWS availability zones to eliminate single points of failure. Amazon EKS is certified Kubernetes conformant so users can use existing tools and plug-ins from partners and the Kubernetes community. Applications running on any standard Kubernetes environment are fully compatible and can be easily migrated to Amazon EKS.

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