Scale Bare Metal cluster

How to scale your Bare Metal cluster

Scaling nodes on Bare Metal clusters

When you are horizontally scaling your Bare Metal EKS Anywhere cluster, consider the number of nodes you need for your control plane and for your data plane.

See the Kubernetes Components documentation to learn the differences between the control plane and the data plane (worker nodes).

Horizontally scaling the cluster is done by increasing the number for the control plane or worker node groups under the Cluster specification.

NOTE: If etcd is running on your control plane (the default configuration) you should scale your control plane in odd numbers (3, 5, 7…).

kind: Cluster
  name: test-cluster
    count: 1     # increase this number to horizontally scale your control plane
  - count: 1     # increase this number to horizontally scale your data plane

Next, you must ensure you have enough available hardware for the scale-up operation to function. Available hardware could have been fed to the cluster as extra hardware during a prior create command, or could be fed to the cluster during the scale-up process by providing the hardware CSV file to the upgrade cluster command (explained in detail below). For scale-down operation, you can skip directly to the upgrade cluster command .

To check if you have enough available hardware for scale up, you can use the kubectl command below to check if there are hardware with the selector labels corresponding to the controlplane/worker node group and without the ownerName label.

kubectl get hardware -n eksa-system --show-labels

For example, if you want to scale a worker node group with selector label type=worker-group-1, then you must have an additional hardware object in your cluster with the label type=worker-group-1 that doesn’t have the ownerName label.

In the command shown below, eksa-worker2 matches the selector label and it doesn’t have the ownerName label. Thus, it can be used to scale up worker-group-1 by 1.

kubectl get hardware -n eksa-system --show-labels 
NAME                STATE       LABELS
eksa-controlplane               type=controlplane,,
eksa-worker1                    type=worker-group-1,,
eksa-worker2                    type=worker-group-1

If you don’t have any available hardware that match this requirement in the cluster, you can setup a new hardware CSV . You can feed this hardware inventory file during the upgrade cluster command .

Upgrade Cluster Command for Scale Up/Down

  1. eksctl CLI: To upgrade a workload cluster with eksctl, run:

    eksctl anywhere upgrade cluster 
    -f cluster.yaml 
    # --hardware-csv <hardware.csv> \ # uncomment to add more hardware
    --kubeconfig mgmt/mgmt-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig

    As noted earlier, adding the --kubeconfig option tells eksctl to use the management cluster identified by that kubeconfig file to create a different workload cluster.

  2. kubectl CLI: The cluster lifecycle feature lets you use kubectl to talk to the Kubernetes API to upgrade a workload cluster. To use kubectl, run:

    kubectl apply -f eksa-w01-cluster.yaml --kubeconfig mgmt/mgmt-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig

    To check the state of a cluster managed with the cluster lifecyle feature, use kubectl to show the cluster object with its status.

    The status field on the cluster object field holds information about the current state of the cluster.

    kubectl get clusters w01 -o yaml

    The cluster has been fully upgraded once the status of the Ready condition is marked True. See the cluster status guide for more information.

  3. GitOps: See Manage separate workload clusters with GitOps

  4. Terraform: See Manage separate workload clusters with Terraform

    NOTE:For kubectl, GitOps and Terraform:

    • The baremetal controller does not support scaling upgrades and Kubernetes version upgrades in the same request.
    • While scaling workload cluster if you need to add additional machines, run:
      eksctl anywhere generate hardware -z updated-hardware.csv > updated-hardware.yaml
      kubectl apply -f updated-hardware.yaml
    • For scaling multiple workload clusters, it is essential that the hardware that will be used for scaling up clusters has labels and selectors that are unique to the target workload cluster. For instance, for an EKSA cluster named eksa-workload1, the hardware that is assigned for this cluster should have labels that are only going to be used for this cluster like type=eksa-workload1-cp and type=eksa-workload1-worker. Another workload cluster named eksa-workload2 can have labels like type=eksa-workload2-cp and type=eksa-workload2-worker. Please note that even though labels can be arbitrary, they need to be unique for each workload cluster. Not specifying unique cluster labels can cause cluster upgrades to behave in unexpected ways which may lead to unsuccessful upgrades and unstable clusters.


EKS Anywhere supports autoscaling of worker node groups using the Kubernetes Cluster Autoscaler and as a curated package .

See here and as a curated package for details on how to configure your cluster spec to autoscale worker node groups for autoscaling.