AWS Managed Kubernetes Service Now Available


Amazon's managed Kubernetes service became generally available Tuesday for running production workloads.

AWS EKS was first introduced in preview at the AWS re:Invent conference last November, and has been gaining steam with partners and customers ahead of the wider launch.

"Customers tell us that Kubernetes is core to their IT strategy, and are already running hundreds of millions of containers on AWS every week," blogged Jeff Barr, AWS' chief evangelist.

"Amazon EKS simplifies the process of building, securing, operating, and maintaining Kubernetes clusters, and brings the benefits of container-based computing to organizations that want to focus on building applications instead of setting up a Kubernetes cluster from scratch," Barr said.

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The container orchestration technology's original creator, Google, had a significant head start in bringing Kubernetes to market, first introducing Google Container Engine (GKE) in 2014.

Amazon's primary cloud rival, Microsoft Azure, in 2016 hired Google's lead Kubernetes engineer to jump-start its own efforts. Microsoft introduced Azure Container Service (AKS) in October, but the service remains in preview.

AWS' market dominance looks to have tilted the playing field in the cloud leader's favor, even before it delivered a formalized offering to simplify deployment.

Barr cited data published in December by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the organization that shepherds the Kubernetes open source project, that revealed more than half—57 percent—of Kubernetes deployments span AWS.

The next most-common environment is on-premises—42 percent of deployments—where companies including Docker and Red Hat are vying for market share on private infrastructure.

One-third of all Kubernetes deployments also touch the Google Cloud Platform. That breakdown illustrates the hybrid and multi-cloud nature of Kubernetes, which allows users to take advantage of the inherent portability of containers to scale applications across heterogenous environments.

Amazon expects wider adoption now that it offers a managed service that simplifies deployment and natively takes advantage of AWS services and features.

"EKS takes advantage of the fact that it is running in the AWS Cloud," Barr said.

That includes a control plane that runs across three AWS Availability Zones, automatic patching and updating of master nodes, identity authentication with Heptio Authenticator, load balancing, and auto scaling.

AWS has long offered Elastic Container Service (ECS) as its native container orchestration and management offering.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy addressed the perception that Amazon was late to Kubernetes at the last re:Invent conference.

"When we launched ECS, there was no broadly accepted orchestration system for containers," Jassy told attendees.

That's changed over the last 18 months, he added.