As part of its Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon had traditionally offered its own in-house container deployment system — Elastic Container Service (ECS). However, a growing number
of organizations are using Kubernetes to manage their containers, not ECS.
To keep up with the market’s needs, Amazon now offers its own Kubernetes-based container orchestration system — Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).
Though built to manage a proven cloud platform (AWS), EKS is the least mature of the various managed services for running Kubernetes available on the market.
The biggest draw of using EKS is that Amazon manages the Kubernetes control plane for you, so there’s no need to set one up and run it alone. You can also deploy EKS in total isolation in Amazon’s VPC network, or manage hybrid-cloud, multi-account, and multi-cloud deployments.
By providing the API Server Endpoint with your provisioned clusters, EKS allows you to use your own Kubernetes tools, such as Kubectl and Dashboard.
Those running on AWS are likely to get the most out of EKS. In fact, AWS’ infrastructure is also inherently secure, which Amazon passes onto its containerization capabilities. For example, it can secure the communication between your worker nodes and the Kubernetes end-point.
Finally, AWS also leverages a large development community, which you can readily use to implement and manage your EKS deployment.
Compared to Microsoft Azure’s AKS and Google Cloud Platform’s GKE, it’ll cost you more to deploy EKS. For example, Amazon charges 20 cents per hour for each cluster, whereas AKS
is free when it comes to clusters (you only pay for the underlying resources, e.g., RAM).
You won’t get as many capabilities on EKS as you would on AKS and, especially, GKE. For example, GKE offers a service mesh — Istio — out-of-the-box to cut down your development costs and time to market. You’ll need to find a compatible service mesh for EKS and install
and configure it on your own. Likewise, you also need to deploy and manage a third-party resource monitoring tool in EKS (while GKE offers Stackdriver).
EKS is only available in the US, Europe, and Asia, not in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), Africa, or Latin America. However, you can access GKE everywhere except for Africa.
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In a way, GKE and EKS are polar opposites.
First, Google launched GKE in 2014, making GKE the oldest and most mature Kubernetes managed service available on the market.
Second, GKE leverages Google’s massive cloud infrastructure, giving it global availability and access to Google’s tools, such as Istio. Google is also extending GKE into niche areas, such
as on-premises container support. In other words, GKE will be of benefit to a larger group of organizations than Amazon EKS.
Third, it takes GKE much less time to create a new cluster compared to EKS (3 minutes vs. 20 minutes). GKE’s New Worker Start Time is also shorter than EKS (3 minutes vs. 5 minutes).
However, EKS does have one advantage over GKE: you can deploy from bare metal nodes. This means that you can use EKS to deploy an image right onto the physical hardware instead of using a virtual machine.
There’s no doubt that GKE appeals to the broadest group of companies and cloud development needs. However, EKS has its place for organizations heavily immersed in AWS and Amazon’s development environment as a whole. Likewise, if you have niche requirements, such as the need to deploy from bare metal nodes out of the shelf, then EKS could be an option.
In any case, the key is to find the solution that best fits with your cloud development needs.
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