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Pros and Cons of Using AWS EKS for K8s
Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source project that lets application developers automate the deployment and management of applications housed on a cluster of servers. A node is a single machine, so a cluster is a group of nodes.

Amazon offers its service that allows a user to run Kubernetes on Amazon Web Services (AWS) without installing or operating their own Kubernetes clusters. The service is called Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS).

Let's look at some of the advantages and possible downsides of using it.

It's Ideal for Companies Who Have Not Run K8s Yet or Are in the Early Stages

EKS works as a turnkey solution for companies that want to run K8s with minimal hassles or time investments. So, it's a good option for customers that want to start running K8s or become more involved in it while using dedicated tools offered by AWS.

For example, if a company wants to create a new node, there is an EKS Wizard that lets them do it through a step-by-step process.

It's Costlier Than Some Other Options

If cost is a primary concern, it's important to understand that AWS EKS for K8s is not the least expensive option on the market according to one detailed analysis. More specifically, EKS charges users 20 cents per hour for each created cluster. Then, regarding AWS resources, customers only pay for what they use.

Your cost analysis may be different depending on your company's needs. AWS handily provides some cost calculators on its pricing page for people to use that could give you a better idea of the likely total costs for a given situation. On the other hand, Azure Container Service (AKS) is a free service, and you only pay for resources instead of getting charged a per-cluster rate.

Straightforward for People Who Are Already Familiar With Other Managed K8s Options

Coverage of AWS EKS from people who know some of the other managed Kubernetes possibilities say it's easy to switch to the service because Amazon kept most of the standard workflows and experiences associated with Kubernetes. That means people who know Kubernetes should not expect a steep learning curve when getting acquainted with EKS.

However, some people reported unexpected problems when getting set up because it didn't have as much automation as they believed would or should be possible with such a product.

EKS Is a Late Arriver to the Market

Something else to keep in mind for people considering using EKS is that it came on the market substantially later than other options. For example, EKS came out in 2018, but the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) has been around since 2014. If companies habitually like to only deal with choices that have marketplace longevity, EKS is still comparatively new.

EKS Offers Managed Updates

Another positive thing about using EKS is that AWS offers a managed update approach. That means there is no need to manually update clusters to the latest Kubernetes versions. Plus, the updates occur on apps in place, eliminating the need to move them to a new cluster before updating.

However, speaking of new updates, Google helped create Kubernetes. As such, the GKE typically supports the latest versions of Kubernetes before other providers do.

You Cannot Use EKS With Fargate

Fargate is another product in the Amazon family. It works with Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and acts as a compute engine that simplifies running containers by not requiring you to manage the clusters or servers. As such, you can give more attention to designing your applications instead of the infrastructure needed to run them.

If you're using Fargate now and would like to integrate it with EKS, that's not possible. AWS does not currently support such integration. Concerning integrations in general, a breakdown of EKS compared to some other options mentions that if you look at ECS and EKS side by side, you'll see that EKS does not offer as many integrations with AWS products as ECS does.

That aspect could matter to you if you use or are planning to use more AWS products and want something that runs K8s and has a higher level of compatibility with Amazon's offerings.

Many Aspects to Consider

Like most other products on the market, EKS has both positive and negative aspects to consider. The content above should help you narrow down whether EKS is right for you or if your needs are better suited to a different option.

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About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits ProductivityBytes.com. Follow her on Twitter @productibytes to read all of her latest posts!

Published Wednesday, May 22, 2019 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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