DevOps Jan 22, 2022

Kubernetes vs AWS EKS - Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service

Jane Vyshnova

Jane Vyshnova



Kubernetes vs AWS EKS - Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service


  1. Kubernetes as a Container-Orchestration Technology
  2. What Is the Difference between EKS and Native Kubernetes?
  3. Amazon Web Service for Kubernetes
  4. AWS EKS vs Self-Managed Kubernetes
  5. What Do You Choose: Kubernetes Native or EKS?

Today, using containers to deploy and manage complex applications is a pretty common thing. More and more apps are developed as microservices functioning at the container level. The reason behind it is that working with container apps expands capabilities within cloud computing solutions through enhancing their native advantages. Kubernetes (also referred to as “K8s”) was introduced by Google as an open-source solution for application management.

The newly invented technology was aimed to make the processes of deployment, management, and scaling of container-based apps fully automatized. In this article, we will try to shed some light on the Kubernetes vs AWS EKS issue and look at how Google's technology is adopted and effectively used in Amazon Web Services.

Also read: 
Comparison of AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud
Microsoft Azure vs AWS
Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Templates vs Terraform

Kubernetes as a Container-Orchestration Technology

Kubernetes emerged as the logical fruit of years of Google engineers' hard work. One simple yet incredibly effective open-source system has now turned into a key tool for building and running next-gen applications. Kubernetes has influenced the environment it was built in and changed the idea of how applications should be deployed, scaled, and operated. So let’s take a closer look at the system’s concept and basic features.

What is Kubernetes and Why It is Used

The demanding modern users are used to applications available 24/7, whereas developers still need to update them daily. Using container technology helps maintain this balance by ensuring the seamless operation of the service at any time. Kubernetes is the solution that allows applications to upgrade and run whenever and wherever you wish. Container orchestration is a key to helping the software find the necessary resources for stable operation. This is how the deployment process looks like step by step:

  1. Creating a Kubernetes cluster;
  2. Containerized app deployment;
  3. App exploration through Nodes and Podes;
  4. Exposing the app publicly;
  5. Scaling up the application;
  6. Updating the app.

Read more about Kubernetes deployment in our latest guide.

Kubernetes Cluster

Kubernetes is planning the launching of containers in separate clusters depending on the available resources each container requires. Then containers are grouped to create logical units, or “Pods.” Multiple or individual containers can run and scale up within a pod. The time and place of launching individual pods are determined by the system. Kubernetes also manages the traffic flow and scaling based on the load or pre-set metrics. Each pod is assigned an IP and DNS name for inter-service communication and traffic management. Kubernetes launches / restarts pods in case of requirements met and system failures, respectively.

What Are the Key Benefits of Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source solution that is currently supported and enhanced by many providers, including Amazon. Besides that, many open-source projects work on delivering Kubernetes-compatible software to achieve maximum possible optimization and extend the architecture of apps even further. Here are some of the basic Kubernetes' features:

What Is the Difference between EKS and Native Kubernetes?

To answer this question, we need to look at several others first.

What Does Kubernetes Native Mean?

In the case of deploying the Kubernetes cluster to cloud-based solutions like EKS or GKE, you don't burden yourself with the need to manage the master node and maintain the cluster control plane. All you do is deploy your app and choose the type of instance you like. In other words, the Master Node is the heart of Kubernetes Native through which you can manage the cluster and control its state. To speak to that heart, you'll need the native client tool called Kubectl. This tool is used to program the Master node, which can be replicated if necessary.

Let's take a look at the components the Master node uses to watch and manage the cluster:

Summing things up, the main advantage of Kubernetes Native is complete control over the cluster control plane. In the case of working with a third-party provider, the latter undertakes this function and manages processes at its own discretion. But if you choose deploying the cluster manually (the hardest option) or using available tools such as Kubespray or Kubeadm, you can achieve 100% control over the cluster. This also applies to its deployment and further administration. This option allows you to implement scenarios that most popular Kubernetes-based solutions cannot offer (e.g. different types of instances for different nodes).

Kubernetes Native Tools to Create and Control Clusters

We have used and can recommend all of these tools:

Amazon Web Service for Kubernetes

Amazon Web Service for Kubernetes

Above, we have covered what the Master node is and how it is used for the Kubernetes clusters’ multi-level management. However, there is another option where the Master node is under the total control of a provider-managed service. Thus, you can safely skip the most difficult stage of configuring clusters and fully concentrate on app deployment. One of the most popular and effective fully managed container solutions is Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service running on Amazon Web Service (AWS EKS). AWS makes controlling your Kubernetes infrastructure simple and efficient by provisioning and managing resources automatically.

According to a recent study by StackRox (2020), Amazon Web Service remains the dominant provider in the container market with its 78% share:

Amazon Web Service vs Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud Platform

The reason for such success is multiple benefits of the fully managed platform over competing ones. First of all, users have access to AWS Fargate, a serverless environment where no server provisioning and management are needed. Among other primary benefits are application isolation and paying for resources on a per-app basis. The second thing to pay attention to is deep integration with additional Amazon services. These include Amazon Private Cloud, AWS Identity and Access Management, Amazon Cloud Watch. Thus, you have every possibility to carry out super-accurate monitoring, scaling, and load balancing for your apps.

AWS EKS vs Self-Managed Kubernetes

It's time to run through some major benefits of fully automated Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service over self-managed Native Kubernetes:

Also read: How to hire a Google Cloud Developer

What Do You Choose: Kubernetes Native or EKS?

Costs, flexibility, and general application requirements should become the key factors when choosing between the two options. Of course, automated provider-managed services come at a price - about 100 USD per month in the case of AWS. Are you willing to pay that kind of money just for cluster management? If not, do you have enough time and expertise to leverage the Kubernetes system on your own? The answer is not so obvious and different for everyone. Self-managed services provide complete freedom of action, while AWS EKS ensures efficient ready-made solutions. One way or another, be sure to assess your limitations and application requirements to decide which option fits your project best.

Need experts’ help to make a wise choice? Contact us with your project description to get a consultation and a project quote.

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