Kubernetes has surfaced as the dominant standard for container orchestration in the cloud. The reason is, it provides an efficient approach to administering containerized workloads across distributed environments. Nevertheless, managing Kubernetes at a large scale may require considerable time and effort. As a result, managed Kubernetes services have gained widespread popularity among enterprises seeking to employ Kubernetes without the encumbrance of infrastructure management.
In this article, we will compare three of the most popular managed Kubernetes services: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) from Microsoft, Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) from Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) from Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
An Overview of Managed Kubernetes Services
Before diving into the comparison, let’s briefly explain what managed Kubernetes services are and how they work. Managed Kubernetes services provide a fully managed Kubernetes control plane, which includes the Kubernetes API server, etcd, and other essential components. The provider manages the control plane’s infrastructure, scaling, upgrades, and security. The user manages the worker nodes, which run the containerized workloads. Managed Kubernetes services also provide additional features like integration with other cloud services, monitoring, logging, and automation.
AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service)
AKS is a managed Kubernetes service offered by Microsoft Azure. With AKS, you can deploy and manage your Kubernetes clusters with ease. In addition, AKS integrates well with other Microsoft services, such as Azure Active Directory and Azure DevOps, making it a popular choice for organizations that already use Microsoft services.
- AKS supports multiple Kubernetes versions, including the latest stable release.
- AKS supports Windows Server Containers in addition to Linux containers.
- AKS integrates well with other Azure services, including Azure Active Directory, Azure DevOps, and Azure Monitor.
EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service)
EKS is a managed Kubernetes service that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers. EKS makes it easy to run Kubernetes on AWS without any Kubernetes management infrastructure.
- EKS supports multiple Kubernetes versions, including the latest stable release.
- EKS is fully compatible with existing Kubernetes tools and applications.
- EKS supports both Linux and Windows Server containers.
GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine)
GKE is a managed Kubernetes service offered by the Google Cloud Platform. GKE is built on the Google Cloud infrastructure and provides a scalable, secure, and highly available platform for running Kubernetes clusters.
- GKE supports multiple Kubernetes versions, including the latest stable release.
- GKE integrates well with other Google Cloud services, including Stackdriver Logging and Monitoring.
- GKE supports both Linux and Windows Server containers.
|Criteria||Kubernetes Versions||Windows Containers||Integration||Monitoring|
|AKS||Multiple, Latest Stable||Supported||Azure Services||Azure Monitor|
|EKS||Multiple, Latest Stable||Supported||AWS Tools and Applications||AWS CloudWatch|
|GKE||Multiple, Latest Stable||Supported||Google Cloud Platform||Stackdriver Logging/Monitoring|
All these services provide a managed Kubernetes environment with different features and pricing models. This section will compare AKS, EKS, and GKE based on their ease of use, integration with other cloud services, scalability, performance, and cost.
- Ease of use – How easy it is to deploy and manage a Kubernetes cluster using the service.
- Integration with other cloud services – How well the service integrates with other cloud services, such as storage, networking, and security.
- Scalability – How easy it is to scale the Kubernetes cluster horizontally and vertically.
- Performance – How well the Kubernetes cluster performs under different workloads.
- Cost Effectiveness – How much does it cost to use the service, including the infrastructure, support, and additional features
AKS vs EKS vs GKE Comparison
Ease of Use
One of the key factors to consider when choosing a managed Kubernetes service is how easy it is to deploy and manage a Kubernetes cluster using the service. AKS, EKS, and GKE provide a simple, easy-to-use interface to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters. However, AKS stands out in terms of ease of use. It offers seamless integration with the Azure portal, making it easy for users to manage the Kubernetes clusters and other Azure resources. Additionally, AKS provides a web-based user interface that allows users to manage the Kubernetes clusters without using the command line.
Integration With Other Cloud Services
Another important consideration when choosing a managed Kubernetes service is its integration with other cloud services. AKS, EKS, and GKE integrate with other cloud services, such as storage, networking, and security. However, GKE stands out in this category, providing deep integration with other Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services. For instance, GKE allows users to use Google Cloud Load Balancing to balance the traffic across the Kubernetes pods. Moreover, GKE also integrates with Stackdriver Logging and Monitoring, allowing users to monitor the Kubernetes clusters’ health and performance.
Scalability is a crucial factor when considering a Kubernetes service. AKS, EKS, and GKE all provide horizontal and vertical scaling. However, GKE stands out in this category, as it provides an auto-scaling feature that can automatically scale the Kubernetes cluster based on the workload. This feature can significantly reduce the overhead of managing the Kubernetes cluster, eliminating the need for manual scaling.
Performance is a critical factor when considering a Kubernetes service. AKS, EKS, and GKE all provide excellent performance under different workloads. However, EKS stands out in this category, as it provides a high-performance networking layer, which can significantly improve the Kubernetes cluster’s performance. In addition, EKS also includes support for Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA), which can provide ultra-low latency and high-bandwidth network communication between the Kubernetes pods.
The cost of a managed Kubernetes service is another essential factor to consider. AKS, EKS, and GKE all have different pricing models depending on the features and usage. However, AKS stands out in this category, providing a cost-effective pricing model with no upfront costs. Additionally, AKS offers the option to use reserved instances, which can significantly reduce the cost of running Kubernetes clusters.
In conclusion, the managed Kubernetes services AKS, EKS, and GKE each offer unique features and benefits that cater to specific user needs. A thorough evaluation of the organization’s requirements and priorities is crucial in determining the best-suited managed Kubernetes service. Each service offers unique features and benefits that cater to distinct user needs.
AKS emerges as the preferred choice for those who prioritize an easy-to-use Kubernetes service with seamless integration with the Azure portal. Its user-friendly interface and convenient access to Azure resources make it a go-to option for organizations that value simplicity and efficiency.
GKE, on the other hand, is the ideal selection for users who prioritize deep integration with other Google Cloud Platform services. Its seamless integration with Google’s cloud ecosystem provides enhanced functionality and versatility for organizations utilizing other services.
Finally, EKS stands out as the superior choice for users looking for a Kubernetes service with high-performance networking and support for EFA. Its advanced networking capabilities and support for Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) enable high-performance computing and efficient data transfer, making it a top choice for organizations that require advanced networking capabilities.