AWS reveals Managed Kubernetes: EKS

ECS Digital 8th December 2017

There were many product announcements at the AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in November that have got the team at ECS excited, particularly in the compute space.

As announced by Andy Jassy, during his re:Invent keynote, the goal for AWS is to create a platform that provides everything builders require. Enabling services, platforms and tooling that can be utilised effectively and securely within an enterprise environment. Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, expanded on this concept in his keynote speech a day later, when discussing building a platform that not only helps businesses achieve their goals today, but enables them to build for 2020.

With that in mind, AWS launched Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS), “a managed service that makes it easy for you to run Kubernetes on AWS without needing to install and operate your own Kubernetes clusters“.

This long awaited move to realign the cloud colossus with other services providers (Azure and GCP), who already provide native support for this technology, is fully compatible with the existing AWS ecosystem such as:

  • Fully managed user authentication to the K8S masters through IAM
  • Restricted access through the newly revealed PrivateLink
  • Native AZ Cluster distribution to provide High Availability

You can read more about how to use this service in the following blog post, produced by Jeff Barr, Chief Evangelist at AWS.

So what do these new developments mean for our customers? Why was this solution sought after, even when AWS launched its own container solution ECS?

To answer this question, we need to step back and understand what Kubernetes is and its role in the modern containerisation scene.

Kubernetes takes its name from a greek word that means “”Helmsman”, and is a Container Scheduler that can be better defined as an “Operative System for clusters”.

It was first released in 2014, when Google released an open source version of their own internal scheduler, Borg. In the past 3 years it has gained huge momentum thanks to an active community directly involved in its roadmap. It’s designed with stability and high-availability in mind, removing the complexity of managing an entire cluster at a unique endpoint.

Even with all this support, managing large clusters can be complex and challenging. Problems like missing system containers and failing correct scheduling are real, and can introduce fallacy into a critical microservice, which in turn can cause downtime across the entire service.

On this matter, AWS recognised that managing production workloads  “is not for faint of heart”, with many moving pieces contributing to its unpredictability.

EKS is a total managed solution: you decide the number of nodes, autoscaling rules, instance type, access policies and AWS will think of the rest. No need to worry about scalability or accessibility. Want more machines? Just add them to the clusters! Want to access them via command line? Just use kubectl!

Kubernetes in the Financial Sector

Amazon calculated that approximately 66% of the world’s Kubernetes workload runs on AWS. Amongst them, new banking companies like Monzo, who are using and massively contributing to this technology, enabling them to scale and grow much faster than the competition.

Bearing in mind the successes that the challenger banks have had with microservices and containerisation, Fintech companies will have enormous benefits leveraging the structured and resilient architecture of Kubernetes, paired with the ease of management and scalability offered by EKS.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can leverage these services in the Cloud please contact our experts today.

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