In this post I will talk about the new Amazon EKS Distro (EKS-D) and why I think that Weaveworks Kubernetes Platform (WKP) is the best enterprise management and support solution for it. This is especially for those customers who need more than just a ‘day zero’ installer for one or two clusters.

What Amazon EKS Distro means

First, take a breath, because AWS just added a whole line of business: enterprise software. AWS has spent 14 years focusing on cloud services. But customers now want on-premise and multi-cloud software solutions that are backed by the hyper-scale providers themselves.

These customers want to migrate as much IT as possible to efficient, automated cloud platforms wherever those workloads need to be. Kubernetes has emerged as the best way to do this. EKS-D gives those customers an AWS-backed Kubernetes option for on-premise and multi-cloud. On top of that: EKS-D is 100% open source. Open source software forms the baseline of all modern cloud native infrastructure around Kubernetes.

AWS-backed open source Kubernetes

With EKS-D, AWS is providing additional validation, support and security to Kubernetes users. In practice this means the following:

  • Released Kubernetes packages that are 100% upstream - the same as CNCF community releases.
  • Extra packages provide curated add-ons like etcd, coreDNS, configured to enable 100% consistency with the versions used in production EKS
  • AWS have tested all this at scale on EC2 and in EKS in production
  • The fully validated secure build, source and installer is available on GitHub. Anyone can run EKS-D and verify upstream compatibility and that EKS-D is not a fork.
  • AWS supports community releases as EKS evolves, and backports CVE patches to older Kubernetes versions where CNCF community support is unavailable.

Benefits of Amazon EKS Distro

EKS-D is an open source alternative to some of the other “enterprise Kubernetes stacks”. But unlike most open source tools, the full stack has been battle tested at hyper-scale. AWS security, release and patch strategy dovetails with Kubernetes community best practices. And EKS-D has a much longer maintenance window, in which AWS extends CVE support to include “older” versions of Kubernetes.

This is definitely good news for customers:

  1. EKS-D is a high quality enterprise option for Kubernetes including validated add-ons. This will run on-premise, hybrid and multi-cloud.
  2. There is a migration story. EKS-D plus EKS provides a consistent compute fabric for applications. New workloads can be tested in the cloud and then run in production behind an enterprise firewall. Or IT can adopt Kubernetes on-premise and then migrate to EKS or to an EKS-D cluster on any public cloud.

Weave Kubernetes Platform is the best way to run EKS-D

WKP provides a complete solution for enterprises to be productive with Kubernetes. Our vision is that developers should be able to deliver and operate applications wherever they want, using their choice of K8s implementation plus our GitOps technology. GitOps enables modern cloud native operations - automated management and reproducible deployments of any Kubernetes application stack anywhere.

We have worked closely with AWS to bring this vision to EKS-D and EKS seamlessly. Our objective is to ensure that EKS-D meets enterprise expectations by delivering the extra functionality that customers tell us they need to run Kubernetes in production at scale. Especially for “day two” issues like how do you roll out a set of patches in a controlled way, or upgrade a fleet? For users of EKS and EKS-D, WKP provides:

  1. Full lifecycle management for any cluster including patches, upgrades, support SLAs
  2. Enterprise-ready platform with dashboards, policy, security, audit, logs, metrics
  3. Managed add-ons and application deployment pipelines for CICD and progressive delivery

In summary, WKP will install and manage EKS-D and extend it for a secure application platform that you can run anywhere you like. For a more detailed run through of new features please see our WKP 2.4 announcement.


We’ve put together a demo of how you can take advantage of WKP and GitOps to manage EKS-D on-premise as well as in the cloud on EKS.

In the demo, we'll configure both a production EKS-D cluster and a development EKS cluster with WKP. That process takes only a few minutes, after which we show you what WKP offers in terms of cluster observability and insight.

We then work through a set of GitOps workflows. We deploy workloads on the dev cluster and show how to promote those workloads, securely, onto the production cluster. We also show how to promote deployments and application changes across , environment from Git.

See Multicluster GitOps on EKS-D with WKP for the complete demo.

The Weaveworks Difference

We have so much more to show you! With WKP you can add GitOps capabilities to Kubernetes, to improve delivery metrics, resilience and time to value. From today, this works with EKS-D and Weaveworks offers full enterprise support.