Notes on Kubernetes setup with Terraform on Amazon EKS


  • Terraform may not garbage-collect AWS load balancers and security groups that are created as side effects of EKS operation. (e.g. creating a Service with type LoadBalancer means EKS will go and create an actual ELB for you). During terraform destroy, these might have to be deleted manually to unblock a full cleanup.
  • It IS possible to give Terraform control of manifests and Helm resources inside the cluster. This requires a hack to fetch an authentication token using Heptio as an external script, which you can then feed to the “kubernetes” provider. Eventually Terraform might gain support for exec-based authentication, and then this will be smoother.

Kubernetes on EKS

  • Authentication is done by a command heptio-authenticator-aws (which queries AWS for a token), called from kubectl. Generally you are expected to create a kubectl config file for access to each new cluster. Implicitly this creates dependencies on kubectl (~/.kube/config) and heptio (~/.aws/credentials).
  • Ingress support is extremely limited. EKS can create Services with type LoadBalancer as ELBs, but does not do anything with Ingress resources. You have to install something extra, like alb-ingress-controller in order to get Ingress working. This breaks many off-the-shelf Helm charts that expect Ingress to work normally.
  • Helm charts seem like a busted early version of Dockerfiles.
  • I have not figured out HTTPS yet. alb-ingress-controller does allow AWS managed certificates for SSL termination. Again this breaks off-the-shelf Helm charts.


  • Halyard’s Docker image is busted due to a typo in the URL for heptio-authenticator-aws. Fix in my pull request.
  • Running Halyard/Spinnaker on EKS seems to be a bleeding-edge configuration with some issues. kubectl proxy doesn’t seem to perform authentication or figure out URL paths for the Spinnaker Deck GUI front-end.

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