Create Docker Cluster (dev only)

Create an EKS Anywhere cluster with Docker on your local machine, laptop, or cloud instance

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 machine or laptop before deploying to other infrastructure such as vSphere or bare metal.


System and network requirements

  • Mac OS 10.15+ / Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS or 22.04 LTS / RHEL or Rocky Linux 8.8+
  • 4 CPU cores
  • 16GB memory
  • 30GB free disk space
  • If you are running in an airgapped environment, the Admin machine must be amd64.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • If you are using Ubuntu, use the Docker CE installation instructions to install Docker and not the Snap installation, as described here.

  • If you are using EKS Anywhere v0.15 or earlier and Ubuntu 21.10 or 22.04, you will need to switch from cgroups v2 to cgroups v1. For details, see Troubleshooting Guide.


Install EKS Anywhere CLI tools

To get started with EKS Anywhere, you must first install the eksctl CLI and the eksctl anywhere plugin. This is the primary interface for EKS Anywhere and what you will use to create a local Docker cluster. The EKS Anywhere plugin requires eksctl version 0.66.0 or newer.


Note if you already have eksctl installed, you can install the eksctl anywhere plugin manually following the instructions in the following section. This package also installs kubectl and aws-iam-authenticator.

brew install aws/tap/eks-anywhere


Install eksctl

curl "$(uname -s)_amd64.tar.gz" \
    --silent --location \
    | tar xz -C /tmp
sudo install -m 0755 /tmp/eksctl /usr/local/bin/eksctl

Install the eksctl-anywhere plugin

RELEASE_VERSION=$(curl --silent --location | yq ".spec.latestVersion")
EKS_ANYWHERE_TARBALL_URL=$(curl --silent --location | yq ".spec.releases[] | select(.version==\"$RELEASE_VERSION\").eksABinary.$(uname -s | tr A-Z a-z).uri")
    --silent --location \
    | tar xz ./eksctl-anywhere
sudo install -m 0755 ./eksctl-anywhere /usr/local/bin/eksctl-anywhere

Install kubectl. See the Kubernetes documentation for more information.

export OS="$(uname -s | tr A-Z a-z)" ARCH=$(test "$(uname -m)" = 'x86_64' && echo 'amd64' || echo 'arm64')
curl -LO "$(curl -L -s${OS}/${ARCH}/kubectl"
sudo install -m 0755 ./kubectl /usr/local/bin/kubectl

Create a local Docker cluster

  1. Generate a cluster config. The cluster config will contain the settings for your local Docker cluster. The eksctl anywhere generate command populates a cluster config with EKS Anywhere defaults and best practices.

    eksctl anywhere generate clusterconfig $CLUSTER_NAME \
       --provider docker > $CLUSTER_NAME.yaml

    The command above creates a file named eksa-cluster.yaml with the contents below in the path where it is executed. The configuration specification is divided into two sections: Cluster and DockerDatacenterConfig. These are the minimum configuration settings you must provide to create a Docker cluster. You can optionally configure OIDC, etcd, proxy, and GitOps as described here.

    kind: Cluster
       name: mgmt
             cilium: {}
          count: 1
          kind: DockerDatacenterConfig
          name: mgmt
          count: 1
       kubernetesVersion: "1.28"
          name: mgmt
          - count: 1
            name: md-0
    kind: DockerDatacenterConfig
       name: mgmt
    spec: {}
  2. Create Docker Cluster. Note the following command may take several minutes to complete. You can run the command with -v 6 to increase logging verbosity to see the progress of the command.

    For a regular cluster create (with internet access), type the following:

    eksctl anywhere create cluster -f $CLUSTER_NAME.yaml

    For an airgapped cluster create, follow Preparation for airgapped deployments instructions, then type the following:

    eksctl anywhere create cluster -f $CLUSTER_NAME.yaml --bundles-override ./eks-anywhere-downloads/bundle-release.yaml

    Expand for sample 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 GitOps Toolkit on workload cluster
    GitOps field not specified, bootstrap flux skipped
    Deleting bootstrap cluster
    🎉 Cluster created!
    The Amazon EKS Anywhere Curated Packages are only available to customers with the
    Amazon EKS Anywhere Enterprise Subscription

    NOTE: to install curated packages during cluster creation, use --install-packages packages.yaml flag

  3. Access Docker cluster

    Once the cluster is created you can use it with the generated kubeconfig in the local directory. If you used the same naming conventions as the example above, you will find a eksa-cluster/eksa-cluster-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig in the directory where you ran the commands.

    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-packages                       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.

  4. The following command will deploy a test application:

    kubectl apply -f ""

    To interact with the deployed application, review the steps in the Deploy test workload page .

Next steps:

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

  • See the Package management section for more information on post-creation curated packages installation.