Amazon EKS Distro¶
Amazon EKS Distro (EKS-D) is a Kubernetes distribution based on and used by Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) to create reliable and secure Kubernetes clusters. With EKS-D, you can rely on the same versions of Kubernetes and its dependencies deployed by Amazon EKS. This includes the latest upstream updates as well as extended security patching support. EKS-D follows the same Kubernetes version release cycle as Amazon EKS and we provide the bits here. EKS-D provides the same software that has enabled tens of thousands of Kubernetes clusters on Amazon EKS.
What is the difference between EKS (the AWS Kubernetes cloud service) and EKS-D? The main difference is in how they are managed. EKS is a fully managed Kubernetes platform, while EKS-D is available to install and manage yourself. You can run EKS-D on-premises, in a cloud, or on your own systems. EKS-D provides a path to having essentially the same Amazon EKS Kubernetes distribution running wherever you need to run it.
Once EKS-D is running, you are responsible for managing and upgrading it yourself. For end users, however, running applications is the same as with EKS since the two support the same API versions and same set of components.
In the near future, a supported, packaged product and installation method for EKS-D will be available under the name EKS Anywhere (EKS-A). To try out EKS-D for now, instructions in this repository describe how to:
Build EKS-D from source code
Install EKS-D using kOps or other installation methods
Project Tenets (unless you know better ones)¶
The tenets of the EKS Distro (EKS-D) project are:
- The Source: The goal of the EKS Distro is to be the Kubernetes source for EKS and EKS Anywhere
- Simple: Make using a Kubernetes distribution simple and boring (reliable and secure).
- Opinionated Modularity: Provide opinionated defaults about the best components to include with Kubernetes, but give customers the ability to swap them out
- Open: Provide open source tooling backed, validated and maintained by Amazon
- Ubiquitous: Enable customers and partners to integrate a Kubernetes distribution in the most common tooling (Kubernetes installers and distributions, infrastructure as code, and more).
- Stand Alone: Provided for use anywhere without AWS dependencies
- Better with AWS: Enable AWS customers to easily adopt additional AWS services
The EKS Distro releases Kubernetes versions at the same pace as EKS, and updates
are issued as releases in release channels. A release channel tracks minor
v<major>.<minor>.<point>) of Kubernetes, and a channel will be
retired when EKS ceases supporting a particular minor version of Kubernetes.
New releases and release channels will be announced via an SNS topic when they
are launched. Releases and release channels are structured as Kubernetes Custom
and the schema can be found in the
You can install the CRD API type, the release channel for Kubernetes 1-18, and view the release channel by running the following commands:
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Releases of the EKS Distro are in-step with versions of components used by or recommended for use with Amazon EKS beginning with Kubernetes v1.18.9, and include the following components:
- CNI plugins
- CSI Sidecars
- Kubernetes Metrics Server
All container images for these components are based on Amazon Linux 2, and are available on the ECR public registry for amd64 and arm64 architectures. New releases will be created when there is an updated component version, a required update in the Amazon Linux 2 base image, or a change required in the build toolchain (ex: a Go version update).
Components such as CNI, etcd, aws-iam-authenticator, and Kubernetes have
release artifacts that are not delivered as container images, and are available
as compressed tar archives and binaries. sha256 and sha512 sum files are
provided in release manifests and are available as files for download (ex:
A list of all the components and assets that make up a release including URIs to all the compressed archives, binaries, and container images are available in the release manifests. You can install the CRD API type, the first release manifest for Kubernetes 1-18, and view the release by running the following commands:
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Release Version Dependencies¶
The EKS Distro of Kubernetes source repository does not include any AMIs (Amazon Machine Images), but it does use the EKS Optimized AMI. See the project repository for the EKS Optimized AMI if you are interested in the AL2 container runtime kernel version.