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eksctl - a CLI for Amazon EKS

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eksctl is a simple CLI tool for creating clusters on EKS - Amazon’s new managed Kubernetes service for EC2. It is written in Go, and uses CloudFormation.

You can create a cluster in minutes with just one command – eksctl create cluster!

Gophers: E, K, S, C, T, & L


To download the latest release, run:

curl --silent --location "$(uname -s)_amd64.tar.gz" | tar xz -C /tmp
sudo mv /tmp/eksctl /usr/local/bin

Alternatively, macOS users can use Homebrew:

brew install weaveworks/tap/eksctl

You will need to have AWS API credentials configured. What works for AWS CLI or any other tools (kops, Terraform etc), should be sufficient. You can use ~/.aws/credentials file or environment variables. For more information read AWS documentation.

To create a basic cluster, run:

eksctl create cluster

A cluster will be created with default parameters

Once you have created a cluster, you will find that cluster credentials were added in ~/.kube/config. If you have kubectl v1.10.x as well as aws-iam-authenticator commands in your PATH, you should be able to use kubectl. You will need to make sure to use the same AWS API credentials for this also. Check EKS docs for instructions. If you installed eksctl via Homebrew, you should have all of these dependencies installed already.

Example output:

$ eksctl create cluster
2018-08-06T16:32:59+01:00 [ℹ]  setting availability zones to [us-west-2c us-west-2b us-west-2a]
2018-08-06T16:32:59+01:00 [ℹ]  creating EKS cluster "adorable-painting-1533569578" in "us-west-2" region
2018-08-06T16:32:59+01:00 [ℹ]  will create 2 separate CloudFormation stacks for cluster itself and the initial nodegroup
2018-08-06T16:32:59+01:00 [ℹ]  if you encounter any issues, check CloudFormation console first
2018-08-06T16:32:59+01:00 [ℹ]  creating cluster stack "eksctl-adorable-painting-1533569578-cluster"
2018-08-06T16:43:43+01:00 [ℹ]  creating nodegroup stack "eksctl-adorable-painting-1533569578-nodegroup-0"
2018-08-06T16:47:14+01:00 [✔]  all EKS cluster resource for "adorable-painting-1533569578" had been created
2018-08-06T16:47:14+01:00 [✔]  saved kubeconfig as "/Users/ilya/.kube/config"
2018-08-06T16:47:20+01:00 [ℹ]  the cluster has 0 nodes
2018-08-06T16:47:20+01:00 [ℹ]  waiting for at least 2 nodes to become ready
2018-08-06T16:47:57+01:00 [ℹ]  the cluster has 2 nodes
2018-08-06T16:47:57+01:00 [ℹ]  node "" is ready
2018-08-06T16:47:57+01:00 [ℹ]  node "" is ready
2018-08-06T16:48:00+01:00 [ℹ]  kubectl command should work with "~/.kube/config", try 'kubectl get nodes'
2018-08-06T16:48:00+01:00 [✔]  EKS cluster "adorable-painting-1533569578" in "us-west-2" region is ready

To list the details about a cluster or all of the clusters, use:

eksctl get cluster [--name=<name>] [--region=<region>]

To create the same kind of basic cluster, but with a different name, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-1 --nodes=4

A default StorageClass (gp2 volume type provisioned by EBS) will be added automatically when creating a cluster. If you want to prevent this, use the --storage-class flag. For example:

eksctl create cluster --storage-class=false

To write cluster credentials to a file other than default, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-2 --nodes=4 --kubeconfig=./kubeconfig.cluster-2.yaml

To prevent storing cluster credentials locally, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-3 --nodes=4 --write-kubeconfig=false

To let eksctl manage cluster credentials under ~/.kube/eksctl/clusters directory, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-3 --nodes=4 --auto-kubeconfig

To obtain cluster credentials at any point in time, run:

eksctl utils write-kubeconfig --name=<name> [--kubeconfig=<path>] [--set-kubeconfig-context=<bool>]

To use a 3-5 node Auto Scaling Group, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-5 --nodes-min=3 --nodes-max=5

To use 30 c4.xlarge nodes and prevent updating current context in ~/.kube/config, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-6 --nodes=30 --node-type=c4.xlarge --set-kubeconfig-context=false

In order to allow SSH access to nodes, eksctl imports ~/.ssh/ by default, to use a different SSH public key, e.g., run:

eksctl create cluster --ssh-access

To use a pre-existing EC2 key pair in us-east-1 region, you can specify key pair name (which must not resolve to a local file path), e.g. to use my_kubernetes_key run:

eksctl create cluster --ssh-access  --ssh-public-key=my_kubernetes_key --region=us-east-1

To add custom tags for all resources, use --tags. Note that until is resolved, tags will apply to CloudFormation stacks but not EKS clusters.

eksctl create cluster --tags environment=staging --region=us-east-1

To configure node volume size, use the --node-volume-size flag.

eksctl create cluster --node-volume-size=50

NOTE: In us-east-1 you are likely to get UnsupportedAvailabilityZoneException. If you do, copy the suggested zones and pass --zones flag, e.g. eksctl create cluster --region=us-east-1 --zones=us-east-1a,us-east-1b,us-east-1d. This may occur in other regions, but less likely. You shouldn’t need to use --zone flag otherwise.

To delete a cluster, run:

eksctl delete cluster --name=<name> [--region=<region>]

GPU Support

If you’d like to use GPU instance types (i.e. p2 or p3 ) then the first thing you need to do is subscribe to the EKS-optimized AMI with GPU Support. If you don’t do this then node creation will fail.

After subscribing to the AMI you can create a cluster specifying the GPU instance type you’d like to use for the nodes. For example:

eksctl create cluster --node-type=p2.xlarge

The AMI resolvers (both static and auto) will see that you want to use a GPU instance type (p2 or p3 only) and they will select the correct AMI.

Once the cluster is created you will need to install the NVIDIA Kubernetes device plugin. Check the repo for the most up to date instructions but you should be able to run this:

kubectl create -f

Once addon support has been added as part of 0.2.0 its envisioned that there will be a addon to install the NVIDIA Kubernetes Device Plugin. This addon could potentially be installed automatically as we know an GPU instance type is being used.

Latest & Custom AMI Support

With the the 0.1.2 release we have introduced the --node-ami flag for use when creating a cluster. This enables a number of advanced use cases such as using a custom AMI or querying AWS in realtime to determine which AMI to use (non-GPU and GPU instances).

The --node-ami can take the AMI image id for an image to explicitly use. It also can take the following ‘special’ keywords:

Keyword Description
static Indicates that the AMI images ids embedded into eksctl should be used. This relates to the static resolvers.
auto Indicates that the AMI to use for the nodes should be found by querying AWS. This relates to the auto resolver.

If, for example, AWS release a new version of the EKS node AMIs and a new version of eksctl hasn’t been released you can use the latest AMI by doing the following:

eksctl create cluster --node-ami=auto

Project Roadmap

Developer use-case (0.2.0)

It should suffice to install a cluster for development with just a single command. Here are some examples:

To create a cluster with default configuration (2 m5.large nodes), run:

eksctl create cluster

The developer may choose to pre-configure popular addons, e.g.:

It should be possible to combine any or all of these addons.

It would also be possible to add any of the addons after cluster was created with eksctl create addons.

Manage EKS the GitOps way (0.3.0)

Just like kubectl, eksctl aims to be compliant with GitOps model, and can be used as part of a GitOps toolkit!

For example, eksctl apply --cluster-config prod-cluster.yaml will manage cluster state declaratively.

And eksctld will be a controller inside of one cluster that can manage multiple other clusters based on Kubernetes Cluster API definitions (CRDs).


Code contributions are very welcome. If you are interested in helping make eksctl great then see our contributing guide.

Get in touch

Create an issue, or login to Weave Community Slack (#eksctl) (signup).

Logo Credits

Original Gophers drawn by Ashley McNamara, unique E, K, S, C, T & L Gopher identities had been produced with