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. Set License Environment Variable

    If you are creating a licensed cluster, set and export the license variable (see License cluster if you are licensing an existing cluster):

    export EKSA_LICENSE='my-license-here'
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.

  8. 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
  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 .

  12. 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.