Amazon joins the rush to Kubernetes

road-race

Was it really only just over a month ago that I wrote, “The only real question is not if AWS will also fully invest in Kubernetes now that Docker has taken the plunge but when? Why, yes, yes it was. And guess what? As predicted by yours truly, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced the launch of Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) at AWS:reInvent. This is a fully-managed service that enables you to use Kubernetes on AWS.

I can’t pat myself on the back too much for this prediction. Once both Docker and Mesosphere threw in the towel on their own cloud orchestration programs, it was clear AWS would adopt Kubernetes.

Yes, AWS may be the 800-pound gorilla of public cloud computing, but even the strongest animal in the cloud jungle must bow when the hurricane blows and, with a recent survey from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Kubernetes’ parent organization, showing that 63 percent of Kubernetes clusters running in the public cloud were on AWS, Amazon had little choice.

After all, numerous other programs already made it possible to run Kubernetes on AWS. These included conjure-up, which creates Kubernetes clusters with native AWS integration on Ubuntu; Kubernetes Operations, which supports running Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in AWS; CoreOS Tectonic, which creates Kubernetes clusters with Container Linux nodes on AWS; and the CoreOS CLI tool, kube-aws, which creates and manages Kubernetes clusters with Container Linux nodes, using AWS tools. In short, if AWS wanted to have a handle on container management on its own cloud services, it had to offer its own Kubernetes support.

True, as Jassy put it in Las Vegas in his AWS:ReInvent keynote speech, “operating Kubernetes with high availability required specialized expertise and a great deal of manual work,” but people were willing to do just that. I might also add that a while running Kubernetes is no job for cloud and container newbies, one reason why Kubernetes is so popular is that it makes it relatively easy to run and manage thousands of containers.

“With Amazon EKS,” AWS claims, “launching a Kubernetes cluster is as easy as a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. Amazon EKS handles the rest, automating much of the heavy lifting involved in managing, scaling, and upgrading Kubernetes clusters.”

In addition, AWS promises, “Customers can run their existing Kubernetes applications on Amazon EKS without any code changes using existing Kubernetes tooling.” That should be true. Kubernetes is very transparent. And, of course, “customers get all the performance, scale, reliability, and availability of AWS, plus integration with AWS networking and security services, including Application Load Balancer, AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM), AWS PrivateLink, and AWS CloudTrail.”

The EKS customers will be able to install and operate Kubernetes masters (which manage a customer’s clusters of servers) across multiple Availability Zones (AZs), replace unhealthy masters, and put measures in place to ensure that updates do not cause application downtime.

AWS also claims that “EKS is the first cloud service to deliver a highly available architecture that automatically distributes Kubernetes masters across multiple Availability Zones (AZ) to eliminate a single point of failure.” This makes it easy for customers to deploy their high availability applications. So, for example, services relying on containers running on EKS can keep running even if a single master, or even an entire AZ, goes down. EKS, AWS promises, will automatically detects and replaces unhealthy masters, and it can automatically patch and perform version upgrades for masters.

It sounds good to me, and I’m sure it will sound even better for users who want to manage containers with Kubernetes and want the easiest possible way to do it on AWS.

RELATED LINKS

Microsoft doubles down on Kubernetes for Azure

For cloud container orchestration, it’s all Kubernetes, all the time

Is Mesosphere surrendering to Kubernetes?

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  1. […] on many cloud platforms. The most popular of these, at 48.5% usage, is Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has only recently officially adopted Kubernetes, but corporate IT had already jumped on Kubernetes to manage containers on AWS. Private clouds […]

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