Run Amazon EKS Anywhere on Bare Metal: No Hypervisor Required

AWS’ managed Kubernetes service is no longer confined to AWS data centers or VMs

Colin Lowery
Run Amazon EKS Anywhere on Bare Metal: No Hypervisor Required

Last September, I shared the news that Equinix was a platform partner for the launch of Amazon EKS Anywhere. This launch made the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Kubernetes service available for the first time on any infrastructure outside of the cloud, including on-premises deployment options such as virtual machines (VMs). Initially, EKS Anywhere supported the use of hypervisors for running production workloads.

Fast-forward to today: EKS Anywhere is now available directly on Equinix Metal™, our automated Bare Metal as a Service offering, without the complexity, overhead and licensing costs of a hypervisor layer. EKS Anywhere is provided via free, open-source software companies can download, install and run on existing hardware within their own data centers or at the edge. It helps simplify the creation and operation of on-premises Kubernetes clusters with default component configurations and provides cluster automation management tools.

Amazon EKS Anywhere

Amazon EKS Anywhere helps simplify the creation and operation of on-premises Kubernetes clusters with default component configurations while providing tools for automating cluster management.

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Deploying and running EKS Anywhere on bare metal helps companies automate all the steps of Kubernetes cluster management, from bare-metal hardware provisioning to Kubernetes cluster operations. AWS relies on a variety of open-source projects, such as Tinkerbell[1] for bare metal infrastructure provisioning. (The technology behind Tinkerbell is built and maintained by the Equinix Metal team.) Other open-source projects include kind[2] for bootstrapping and Cluster API[3] for Kubernetes lifecycle management.

Why should companies run Amazon EKS Anywhere on bare metal?

In addition to shifting the cost basis from CAPEX to OPEX, running EKS Anywhere on bare metal improves performance, lowers latency, provides better connectivity and enables scalability on demand. The new capability is also great news for the developer community; they can now provision clusters without virtualization and run their applications in the cloud and on-premises. Further, running Kubernetes on bare metal instances allows better server usage since the operating system communicates directly with the physical hardware.

Migrating apps from on-premises data centers to the cloud is time consuming. Instead, companies can use EKS Anywhere on bare metal to run apps more reliably than self-managed Kubernetes offerings and consistently with how EKS workloads run when hosted in the AWS Cloud. The same tooling, processes and practices are used for both. Running Amazon EKS Anywhere on bare metal provides a combination of flexibility and control for Kubernetes-based applications globally via web browser or TF scripts.

Putting bare metal to the test

We make it simple to migrate your Amazon EKS workloads to Equinix Metal in minutes, helping you gain greater proximity to workloads and end users. Start by defining the private connection from Equinix Metal to an Equinix Fabric™ port and connect directly to AWS services. Install the cluster on the bare-metal server and add the routes to the Amazon private space. This will allow you to communicate with the resources in the AWS Cloud as though you were doing so directly from a cluster in the cloud.

These two Equinix Metal customers and EKS Anywhere launch partners have already validated their solutions with EKS Anywhere on bare metal:

  • Tetrate created an edge-to-workload application connectivity platform for multicluster, multiregion and hybrid cluster deployments. The Tetrate team recently implemented EKS Anywhere on bare-metal servers so they could distribute workloads between EKS clusters in the AWS Cloud and on Equinix Metal. Setup was a breeze using Terraform; it took minutes to deploy once they set the configuration variables, with no hands-on involvement.
  • Rafay’s Kubernetes management platform is used by enterprises and service providers. The company was operating both containerized applications and legacy virtual machine (VM) apps on Kubernetes clusters that were running over a virtualization layer. By deploying these clusters directly on Equinix Metal, the Rafay team was able to improve performance and lower latency, while eliminating the licensing fees for a hypervisor layer. In addition, since Rafay did not wish to run their own data centers which would require CAPEX, colocating on Platform Equinix® with its pay-as-you-go option and closer proximity to their users was an ideal solution.

Companies in industries including gaming, healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment, manufacturing and government can benefit from running EKS Anywhere on Equinix Metal to manage workloads and store data in proximity to compute power—on-premises or at the edge.

Deploy Amazon EKS Anywhere on Equinix Metal for added value

When businesses deploy and run EKS Anywhere on Equinix Metal, they get the combination of single-tenant bare metal from Equinix, the AWS Kubernetes experience and the private connectivity of Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection on Platform Equinix. The result is secure inter-cluster traffic with low latency and low jitter at a predictable cost.

Equinix and AWS have a history of serving customers together. The long-standing Equinix and AWS partnership connects customers to the AWS Cloud via 38 AWS Direct Connect sites worldwide. In addition, as a strategic AWS Outposts partner since 2019, Equinix enables access to AWS Services in proximity to customers in many of our 240+ data centers around the world. In 2021, our partnership expanded to enable AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) Anywhere to run on Equinix Metal.

Learn more by reading about our Amazon EKS Anywhere partnership.

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Getting started with Amazon EKS Anywhere on Bare Metal






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Colin Lowery Former Partner Account Director, AWS Strategic Alliance
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