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Getting started

The Getting started section includes information on starting to set up your own EKS Anywhere local or production environment.

EKS Anywhere can be deployed as a simple, unsupported local environment or as a production-quality environment that can become a supported on-premises Kubernetes platform. This section lists the different ways to set up and run EKS Anywhere. When you install EKS Anywhere, choose an installation type based on: ease of maintenance, security, control, available resources, and expertise required to operate and manage a cluster.

Install EKS Anywhere

To create an EKS Anywhere cluster you’ll need to download the command line tool that is used to create and manage a cluster. You can install it using the installation guide

Local environment

If you just want to try out EKS Anywhere, there is a single-system method for installing and running EKS Anywhere using Docker. See EKS Anywhere local environment .

Production environment

When evaluating a solution for a production environment consider deploying EKS Anywhere on vSphere .

1 - Install EKS Anywhere

EKS Anywhere will create and manage Kubernetes clusters on multiple providers. Currently we support creating development clusters locally with Docker and production clusters using VMware vSphere. Other deployment targets will be added in the future, including bare metal support in 2022.

Creating an EKS Anywhere cluster begins with setting up an Administrative machine where you will run Docker and add some binaries. From there, you create the cluster for your chosen provider. See Create cluster workflow for an overview of the cluster creation process.

To create an EKS Anywhere cluster you will need eksctl and the eksctl-anywhere plugin. This will let you create a cluster in multiple providers for local development or production workloads.

Administrative machine prerequisites

  • Docker 20.x.x
  • Mac OS (10.15) / Ubuntu (20.04.2 LTS)
  • 4 CPU cores
  • 16GB memory
  • 30GB free disk space

NOTE: If you are using Ubuntu use the Docker CE installation instructions to install Docker and not the Snap installation.

Install EKS Anywhere CLI tools

Via Homebrew (macOS and Linux)

You can install eksctl and eksctl-anywhere with homebrew . This package will also install kubectl and the aws-iam-authenticator which will be helpful to test EKS clusters.

brew install aws/tap/eks-anywhere

Manually (macOS and Linux)

Install the latest release of eksctl. The EKS Anywhere plugin requires eksctl version 0.66.0 or newer.

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

Install the eksctl-anywhere plugin.

export EKSA_RELEASE="0.6.0" OS="$(uname -s | tr A-Z a-z)" RELEASE_NUMBER=2
curl "${RELEASE_NUMBER}/artifacts/eks-a/v${EKSA_RELEASE}/${OS}/eksctl-anywhere-v${EKSA_RELEASE}-${OS}-amd64.tar.gz" \
    --silent --location \
    | tar xz ./eksctl-anywhere
sudo mv ./eksctl-anywhere /usr/local/bin/

Upgrade eksctl-anywhere

If you installed eksctl-anywhere via homebrew you can upgrade the binary with

brew update
brew upgrade eks-anywhere

If you installed eksctl-anywhere manually you should follow the installation steps to download the latest release.

You can verify your installed version with

eksctl anywhere version

Deploy a cluster

Once you have the tools installed you can deploy a local cluster or production cluster in the next steps.

2 - Create local cluster

EKS Anywhere docker provider deployments

EKS Anywhere supports a Docker provider for development and testing use cases only. This allows you to try EKS Anywhere on your local system before deploying to a supported provider.

To install the EKS Anywhere binaries and see system requirements please follow the installation guide .


  1. Generate a cluster config

    eksctl anywhere generate clusterconfig $CLUSTER_NAME \
       --provider docker > $CLUSTER_NAME.yaml
  2. Create a cluster

    eksctl anywhere create cluster -f $CLUSTER_NAME.yaml

    Example command output

    Performing setup and validations
    ✅ validation succeeded {"validation": "docker Provider setup is valid"}
    Creating new bootstrap cluster
    Installing cluster-api providers on bootstrap cluster
    Provider specific setup
    Creating new workload cluster
    Installing networking on workload cluster
    Installing cluster-api providers on workload cluster
    Moving cluster management from bootstrap to workload cluster
    Installing EKS-A custom components (CRD and controller) on workload cluster
    Creating EKS-A CRDs instances on workload cluster
    Installing AddonManager and GitOps Toolkit on workload cluster
    GitOps field not specified, bootstrap flux skipped
    Deleting bootstrap cluster
    🎉 Cluster created!
  3. Use the cluster

    Once the cluster is created you can use it with the generated KUBECONFIG file in your local directory

    export KUBECONFIG=${PWD}/${CLUSTER_NAME}/${CLUSTER_NAME}-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig
    kubectl get ns

    Example command output

    NAME                                STATUS   AGE
    capd-system                         Active   21m
    capi-kubeadm-bootstrap-system       Active   21m
    capi-kubeadm-control-plane-system   Active   21m
    capi-system                         Active   21m
    capi-webhook-system                 Active   21m
    cert-manager                        Active   22m
    default                             Active   23m
    eksa-system                         Active   20m
    kube-node-lease                     Active   23m
    kube-public                         Active   23m
    kube-system                         Active   23m

    You can now use the cluster like you would any Kubernetes cluster. Deploy the test application with:

    kubectl apply -f ""

    Verify the test application in the deploy test application section . See the Cluster management section with more information on common operational tasks like scaling and deleting the cluster.

3 - Create production cluster

EKS Anywhere supports a vSphere provider for production grade EKS Anywhere deployments. EKS Anywhere allows you to provision and manage Amazon EKS on your own infrastructure.

This document walks you through setting up EKS Anywhere in a way that:

  • Deploys a management cluster on your vSphere environment
  • Deploys one or more workload clusters from the management cluster
  • Keeps the management cluster in place so you can use it later to modify, upgrade, and delete workload clusters

Prerequisite Checklist

EKS Anywhere needs to be run on an administrative machine that has certain machine requirements . An EKS Anywhere deployment will also require the availability of certain resources from your VMware vSphere deployment .


  1. Generate a management cluster config:

    eksctl anywhere generate clusterconfig $CLUSTER_NAME \
       --provider vsphere > eksa-mgmt-cluster.yaml
  2. Modify the management cluster config (eksa-mgmt-cluster.yaml) as follows:

    • Refer to vsphere configuration for information on configuring this cluster config for a vSphere provider.
    • Create at least two control plane nodes, three worker nodes, and three etcd nodes for a production cluster, to provide high availability and rolling upgrades.
    • Optionally, configure the cluster for OIDC , etcd , proxy , gitops and/or a container registry mirror .
  3. Set Credential Environment Variables

    Before you create a workload cluster, you will need to set and export these environment variables for your vSphere user name and password. Make sure you use single quotes around the values so that your shell does not interpret the values:

    export EKSA_VSPHERE_USERNAME='billy'
    export EKSA_VSPHERE_PASSWORD='t0p$ecret'
  4. Create a management cluster

    After you have created your eksa-mgmt-cluster.yaml and set your credential environment variables, you will be ready to create a management cluster:

    eksctl anywhere create cluster -f eksa-mgmt-cluster.yaml
  5. Once the management cluster is created you can use it with the generated KUBECONFIG file in your local directory:

    export KUBECONFIG=${PWD}/${CLUSTER_NAME}/${CLUSTER_NAME}-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig
  6. Check the management cluster nodes:

    To check that the cluster completed, list the machines to see the control plane, etcd, and worker nodes:

    kubectl get machines -A

    Example command output

    NAMESPACE   NAME                PROVIDERID        PHASE    VERSION
    eksa-system mgmt-b2xyz          vsphere:/xxxxx    Running  v1.21.2-eks-1-21-5
    eksa-system mgmt-etcd-r9b42     vsphere:/xxxxx    Running  
    eksa-system mgmt-md-8-6xr-rnr   vsphere:/xxxxx    Running  v1.21.2-eks-1-21-5

    The etcd machine doesn’t show the Kubernetes version because it doesn’t run the kubelet service.

  7. Check the management cluster CRD:

    To ensure you are looking at the management cluster, list the CRD to see that the name of its management cluster is itself:

    kubectl get clusters mgmt -o yaml

    Example command output

    kubernetesVersion: "1.21"
      name: mgmt
  8. Generate a workload cluster config:

    eksctl anywhere generate clusterconfig $CLUSTER_NAME \
       --provider vsphere > eksa-w01-cluster.yaml

    Refer to the management config described earlier for the required and optional settings. The main difference is that you must have a new cluster name and cannot use the same vSphere resources.

  9. Create a workload cluster

    To create a new workload cluster from your management cluster run this command, identifying:

    • The workload cluster yaml file
    • The management cluster credentials (this causes the workload cluster to be managed from the management cluster)
    eksctl anywhere create cluster \
        -f eksa-w01-cluster.yaml  \
        --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.

  10. Check the workload cluster:

    You can now use the workload cluster as you would any Kubernetes cluster. Change your credentials to point to the new workload cluster (for example, mgmt-w01), then run the test application with:

    export CLUSTER_NAME=mgmt-w01
    export KUBECONFIG=${PWD}/${CLUSTER_NAME}/${CLUSTER_NAME}-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig
    kubectl apply -f ""

    Verify the test application in the deploy test application section .

  11. Add more workload clusters:

    To add more workload clusters, go through the same steps for creating the initial workload, copying the config file to a new name (such as eksa-w02-cluster.yaml), modifying resource names, and running the create cluster command again.

See the Cluster management section with more information on common operational tasks like scaling and deleting the cluster.