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Create and Manage AWS EKS Cluster

Palette supports creating and managing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) clusters deployed to an AWS account. This section guides you on how to create an EKS cluster in AWS that Palette manages.


  • Access to an AWS cloud account.

  • Palette integration with AWS account. Review Add AWS Account for guidance.

  • An infrastructure cluster profile for AWS EKS. When you create the profile, ensure you choose EKS as the Managed Kubernetes cloud type. Review Create an Infrastructure Profile for guidance.

  • An EC2 key pair for the target region that provides a secure connection to your EC2 instances. To learn how to create a key pair, refer to the Amazon EC2 key pairs resource.

  • To access your EKS cluster using kubectl, you will need the aws-iam-authenticator plugin installed. If you are using a custom OIDC provider, you will need the kubelogin plugin installed. Refer to the Access EKS Cluster section for more information.

  • To use secrets encryption, which is available only during EKS cluster creation, you must have created an AWS Key Management Service (KMS) key. If you do not have one, review Enable Secrets Encryption for EKS Cluster for guidance.

  • If you do not provide your own Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Palette creates one for you with compute, network, and storage resources in AWS when it provisions Kubernetes clusters. Ensure there is sufficient capacity in the preferred AWS region to create the following resources. Note that Palette does not create these resources if you specify an existing VPC.

    • Virtual CPU (vCPU)
    • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
    • Elastic IP
    • Internet Gateway
    • Elastic Load Balancers
    • Network Address Translation (NAT) Gateway


    To enable automated subnet discovery to create external load balancers, you need to add tags to the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) public subnets. For more information about tagging VPC networks, refer to the AWS EKS VPC Subnet Discovery reference guide. Use the AWS Tag Editor and specify the region and resource type. Then, add the following tags. Replace the value yourClusterName with your cluster's name. To learn more about the Tag Editor, refer to the AWS Tag Editor reference guide.

    • = 1
    • = public
    •[yourClusterName] = shared
    •[yourClusterName] = owned

Use the following steps to deploy an EKS cluster on AWS.

  1. Log in to Palette.

  2. Ensure you are in the correct project scope.

  3. From the left Main Menu select Clusters, and click on the Add New Cluster button.

  4. Select Deploy New Cluster on the next page Palette displays. This will allow you to deploy a cluster using your own cloud account.

  5. Select AWS and click on the Start AWS Configuration button.

  6. Fill out the following basic information, and click Next to continue.

    Cluster NameA custom name for the cluster.
    DescriptionUse the description to provide context about the cluster.
    TagsAssign any desired cluster tags. Tags on a cluster are propagated to the Virtual Machines (VMs) deployed to the target environments. Example: region:us-east-1a or zone:vpc-private-us-east-1a.
    Cloud AccountIf you already added your AWS account in Palette, select it from the drop-down Menu. Otherwise, click on Add New Account and add your AWS account information.

    To learn how to add an AWS account, review the Add an AWS Account to Palette guide.

  1. Select EKS listed under Managed Kubernetes.

  2. Select the EKS cluster profile you created and click on Next. Palette displays the cluster profile layers.

  3. Review the profile layers and customize parameters as desired in the YAML files that display when you select a layer. You can configure custom OpenID Connect (OIDC) for EKS clusters at the Kubernetes layer. Check out Access EKS Cluster if you need more guidance.

  4. Click on Next to continue.

  5. Provide the following cluster configuration information and click on Next to continue.

    Static PlacementBy default, Palette uses dynamic placement. This creates a new Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for the cluster that contains two subnets in different Availability Zones (AZs), which is required for EKS cluster deployment. Palette places resources in these clusters, manages the resources, and deletes them when the corresponding cluster is deleted.

    If you want to place resources into pre-existing VPCs, enable the Static Placement option, and provide the VPCID in the VPCID field that displays with this option enabled. You will need to specify two subnets in different Availability Zones (AZs).
    RegionUse the drop-down Menu to choose the AWS region where you would like to provision the cluster.
    SSH Key Pair NameChoose the SSH key pair for the region you selected. SSH key pairs must be pre-configured in your AWS environment. This is called an EC2 Key Pair in AWS. The key you select is inserted into the provisioned VMs.
    Cluster Endpoint AccessThis setting provides access to the Kubernetes API endpoint. Select Private, Public or Private & Public. For more information, refer to the Amazon EKS cluster endpoint access control reference guide.
    Public Access CIDRsThis setting controls which IP address CIDR ranges can access the cluster. To fully allow unrestricted network access, enter in the field. For more information, refer to the Amazon EKS cluster endpoint access control reference guide.
    Private Access CIDRsThis setting controls which private IP address CIDR ranges can access the cluster. Private CIDRs provide a way to specify private, self-hosted, and air-gapped networks or Private Cloud Gateway (PCG) that may be located in other VPCs connected to the VPC hosting the cluster endpoint.

    To restrict network access, replace the pre-populated with the IP address CIDR range that should be allowed access to the cluster endpoint. Only the IP addresses that are within the specified VPC CIDR range - and any other connected VPCs - will be able to reach the private endpoint. For example, while using would allow traffic throughout the VPC and all peered VPCs, specifying the VPC CIDR would limit traffic to an individual VPC. For more information, refer to the Amazon EKS cluster endpoint access control reference guide.
    Enable EncryptionUse this option for secrets encryption. You must have an existing AWS Key Management Service (KMS) key you can use. Toggle the Enable encryption option and use the drop-down Menu in the ARN field to select the KMS key ARN.

    If you do not have a KMS key and want to create one to use this option, review Enable Secrets Encryption for EKS Cluster. Once your KMS key is created, return to this Cluster Config step to enable secrets encryption and specify the KMS key ARN.

    If you set the cluster endpoint to Public, ensure you specify in the Public Access CIDR field to open it to all possible IP addresses. Otherwise, Palette will not open it up entirely. We recommend specifying the Private & Public option to cover all the possibilities.

  6. Provide the following node pool and cloud configuration information. If you will be using Fargate profiles, you can add them here.

    • Node Configuration Settings
    Node pool nameA descriptive name for the node pool.
    Number of nodes in the poolSpecify the number of nodes in the worker pool.
    Additional LabelsYou can add optional labels to nodes in key-value format. For more information about applying labels, review Apply Labels to Nodes. Example: "environment": "production"
    TaintsYou can apply optional taint labels to a node pool during cluster creation or edit taint labels on an existing cluster. Review the Node Pool management page and Apply Taints to Nodes page to learn more. Toggle the Taint button to create a taint label. When tainting is enabled, you need to provide a custom key-value pair. Use the drop-down Menu to choose one of the following Effect options:
    NoSchedule - Pods are not scheduled onto nodes with this taint.
    PreferNoSchedule - Kubernetes attempts to avoid scheduling pods onto nodes with this taint, but scheduling is not prohibited.
    NoExecute - Existing pods on nodes with this taint are evicted.
    • Cloud Configuration settings
    Instance OptionChoose a pricing method:
    On-Demand instances provide stable and uninterrupted compute capacity at a higher cost.
    Spot instances allow you to bid for unused EC2 capacity at a lower cost.
    We recommend you base your choice on your application's requirements.
    Instance TypeSelect the instance type to use for all nodes in the node pool.
    Enable Nodepool CustomizationTo use a pre-configured VM image, toggle this option on and provide the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) ID. When this option is enabled, you can use the drop-down Menu to specify the disk type to use.
    Root Disk sizeYou can choose disk size based on your requirements. The default size is 60.
    • Fargate Profiles

    You can create one or more Fargate profiles for the EKS cluster to use. Click + Add Fargate Profile. For more information about Fargate profiles, refer to the AWS Fargate reference guide.

    NameA custom name for the Fargate profile.
    SubnetsPods running on Fargate Profiles are not assigned public IP addresses, so only private subnets (with no direct route to an Internet Gateway) are accepted for this parameter. For dynamic provisioning, this input is not required and subnets are automatically selected.
    SelectorsDefine a pod selector by providing a target namespace and optional labels. Pods with a matching namespace and app labels are scheduled to run on dynamically provisioned compute nodes.
    You can have up to five selectors in a Fargate profile, and a pod only needs to match one selector to run using the Fargate profile.

    You can add new worker pools if you need to customize certain worker nodes to run specialized workloads. As an example, the default worker pool may be configured with the m3.large instance types for general-purpose workloads, and another worker pool with instance type g2.2xlarge can be configured to run GPU workloads.

  7. Click on Next to continue.

  8. Specify your preferred OS Patching Schedule for EKS-managed machines.

  9. Enable any scan options you want Palette to perform, and select a scan schedule. Palette provides support for Kubernetes configuration security, penetration testing, and conformance testing.

  10. Schedule any backups you want Palette to perform. Review Backup and Restore for more information.

  11. RBAC configuration is required when you configure custom OIDC. You must map a set of users or groups to a Kubernetes RBAC role. To learn how to map a Kubernetes role to users and groups, refer to Create Role Bindings. Refer to Use RBAC with OIDC for an example.

  12. Click on the Validate button and review the cluster configuration and settings summary.

  13. Click Finish Configuration to deploy the cluster.

    The cluster details page of the cluster contains the status and details of the deployment. Use this page to track the deployment progress.


    Provisioning an AWS EKS clusters can take several minutes.

For information on how to access your cluster using the kubectl CLI, review Access EKS Cluster.


You can validate your cluster is up and in Running state.

  1. Log in to Palette.

  2. Navigate to the left Main Menu and select Clusters. The Clusters page displays a list of all available clusters that Palette manages.

  3. Click on the cluster you created to view its details page.

  4. Ensure the Cluster Status field displays Running.

Access EKS Cluster

You can access your Kubernetes cluster by using the kubectl CLI, which requires authentication. Depending on how you will authenticate to your EKS cluster, you need to install the appropriate plugin. The table below lists the plugin required for two EKS deployment scenarios.

Deploy EKS cluster with custom OIDCkubelogin
Deploy EKS cluster access with default AWS authenticationaws-iam-authenticator

Select the appropriate tab for your deployment.

To access an EKS cluster with default AWS authentication, you need to do the following:

  • Download the kubeconfig file from the cluster details page. Refer to the Kubectl guide for more information.

Once you have the required plugin installed and kubeconfig file downloaded, you can use kubectl to access your cluster.


For guidance in setting up kubectl, review the Kubectl guide.