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ECS for Kubernetes (EKS) - Hello World!

In this tutorial, we’ll launch a new Managed Kubernetes cluster in Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) on AWS. The code for this tutorial is available on GitHub.


  1. Install Pulumi
  2. Install Node.js
  3. Install a package manager for Node.js, such as npm or Yarn.
  4. Configure AWS credentials
  5. Install AWS IAM Authenticator for Kubernetes

Create a new EKS cluster

  1. In a new folder eks-hello-world, create an empty project with pulumi new.

    This will create a base Pulumi program in TypeScript, and is great recommendation to begin your journey.

    $ mkdir eks-hello-world && cd eks-hello-world
    $ pulumi new aws-typescript
    • Enter in a Pulumi project name, and description to detail what this Pulumi program does
    • Enter in a name for the Pulumi stack, which is an instance of our Pulumi program, and is used to distinguish amongst different development phases and environments of your work streams.
  2. Add the required dependencies:

    This installs the dependent packages needed for our Pulumi program.

    $ npm install --save @pulumi/eks @pulumi/kubernetes
  3. Open the existing file index.ts, and replace the contents with the following:

    The index.ts occupies the role as the main entrypoint in our Pulumi program. In it, we are going to declare:

    • The resources we want in AWS to provision the EKS cluster based on our cluster configuration settings,
    • The kubeconfig file to access the cluster, and
    • The initialization of a Pulumi Kubernetes provider with the kubeconfig, so that we can deploy Kubernetes resources to the cluster once its ready in the next steps.
    import * as pulumi from "@pulumi/pulumi";
    import * as awsx from "@pulumi/awsx";
    import * as eks from "@pulumi/eks";
    import * as k8s from "@pulumi/kubernetes";
    const name = "helloworld";
    // Create an EKS cluster with non-default configuration
    const vpc = new awsx.ec2.Vpc("vpc", { subnets: [{ type: "public" }] });
    const cluster = new eks.Cluster(name, {
        subnetIds: vpc.publicSubnetIds,
        desiredCapacity: 2,
        minSize: 1,
        maxSize: 2,
        storageClasses: "gp2",
        deployDashboard: false,
    // Export the clusters' kubeconfig.
    export const kubeconfig = cluster.kubeconfig
  4. To preview and deploy changes, run pulumi up and select “yes.”

    The up sub-command shows a preview of the resources that will be created and prompts on whether to proceed with the deployment. Note that the stack itself is counted as a resource, though it does not correspond to a physical cloud resource.

    You can also run pulumi up --diff to see and inspect the diffs of the overall changes expected to take place.

    Running pulumi up will deploy the EKS cluster. Note, provisioning a new EKS cluster takes between 10-15 minutes.

    $ pulumi up
    Previewing update (eks-demo):
        Type                                          Name                                  Plan
    +   pulumi:pulumi:Stack                           eks-hello-world-eks-demo              create
    +   ├─ eks:index:Cluster                          helloworld                            create
    +   │  ├─ eks:index:ServiceRole                   helloworld-eksRole                    create
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:Role                         helloworld-eksRole-role               create
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-eksRole-90eb1c99           create
    +   │  │  └─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-eksRole-4b490823           create
    +   │  ├─ eks:index:ServiceRole                   helloworld-instanceRole               create
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:Role                         helloworld-instanceRole-role          create
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-instanceRole-03516f97      create
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-instanceRole-e1b295bd      create
    +   │  │  └─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-instanceRole-3eb088f2      create
    +   │  ├─ pulumi-nodejs:dynamic:Resource          helloworld-cfnStackName               create
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:SecurityGroup                   helloworld-eksClusterSecurityGroup    create
    +   │  ├─ aws:iam:InstanceProfile                 helloworld-instanceProfile            create
    +   │  ├─ aws:eks:Cluster                         helloworld-eksCluster                 create
    +   │  ├─ pulumi-nodejs:dynamic:Resource          helloworld-vpc-cni                    create
    +   │  ├─ pulumi:providers:kubernetes             helloworld-eks-k8s                    create
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:SecurityGroup                   helloworld-nodeSecurityGroup          create
    +   │  ├─ kubernetes:core:ConfigMap               helloworld-nodeAccess                 create
    +   │  ├─  helloworld-gp2                        create
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:SecurityGroupRule               helloworld-eksClusterIngressRule      create
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:LaunchConfiguration             helloworld-nodeLaunchConfiguration    create
    +   │  ├─ aws:cloudformation:Stack                helloworld-nodes                      create
    +   │  └─ pulumi:providers:kubernetes             helloworld-provider                   create
        + 42 to create
    clusterng (eks-demo):
        Type                                          Name                                  Status      Info
    +   pulumi:pulumi:Stack                           eks-hello-world-eks-demo              created
    +   ├─ eks:index:Cluster                          helloworld                            created
    +   │  ├─ eks:index:ServiceRole                   helloworld-eksRole                    created
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:Role                         helloworld-eksRole-role               created
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-eksRole-90eb1c99           created
    +   │  │  └─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-eksRole-4b490823           created
    +   │  ├─ eks:index:ServiceRole                   helloworld-instanceRole               created
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:Role                         helloworld-instanceRole-role          created
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-instanceRole-3eb088f2      created
    +   │  │  ├─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-instanceRole-03516f97      created
    +   │  │  └─ aws:iam:RolePolicyAttachment         helloworld-instanceRole-e1b295bd      created
    +   │  ├─ pulumi-nodejs:dynamic:Resource          helloworld-cfnStackName               created
    +   │  ├─ aws:iam:InstanceProfile                 helloworld-instanceProfile            created
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:SecurityGroup                   helloworld-eksClusterSecurityGroup    created
    +   │  ├─ aws:eks:Cluster                         helloworld-eksCluster                 created
    +   │  ├─ pulumi:providers:kubernetes             helloworld-eks-k8s                    created
    +   │  ├─ pulumi-nodejs:dynamic:Resource          helloworld-vpc-cni                    created
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:SecurityGroup                   helloworld-nodeSecurityGroup          created
    +   │  ├─ kubernetes:core:ConfigMap               helloworld-nodeAccess                 created
    +   │  ├─  helloworld-gp2                        created
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:SecurityGroupRule               helloworld-eksClusterIngressRule      created
    +   │  ├─ aws:ec2:LaunchConfiguration             helloworld-nodeLaunchConfiguration    created
    +   │  ├─ aws:cloudformation:Stack                helloworld-nodes                      created
    +   │  └─ pulumi:providers:kubernetes             helloworld-provider                   created
    pulumi:pulumi:Stack (eks-hello-world-eks-demo):
        kubeconfig: {
            apiVersion     : "v1"
            clusters       : [
                [0]: {
                    cluster: {
                        certificate-authority-data: "<CERT_DATA>"
                        server                    : "https://<SERVER_ADDR>"
                    name   : "kubernetes"
            contexts       : [
                [0]: {
                    context: {
                        cluster: "kubernetes"
                        user   : "aws"
                    name   : "aws"
            current-context: "aws"
            kind           : "Config"
            users          : [
                [0]: {
                    name: "aws"
                    user: {
                        exec: {
                            apiVersion: ""
                            args      : [
                                [0]: "token"
                                [1]: "-i"
                                [2]: "helloworld-eksCluster-e9e1711"
                            command   : "aws-iam-authenticator"
        + 42 created
    Duration: 13m7s

Access the Kubernetes Cluster using Pulumi Providers

Now that we have an instance of Kubernetes running, we may want to create API resources in Kubernetes to manage our workloads through Pulumi.

We can do this by configuring a Pulumi provider for our newly created cluster, and instantiating a new Kubernetes resource object in our Pulumi program. The concept of a provider allows us to abstract away Kubernetes clusters in Pulumi that are indendent of their underyling cloud provider, so that you can operate on and work with your Kubernetes clusters in a standard manner.

  1. Create a new Kubernetes Namespace and Deployment:

    This declares a new Kubernetes Namespace, Deployment and Service to be created using the Pulumi Kubernetes provider to our cluster.

    Open the existing file index.ts, and append the following:

    // Create a Kubernetes Namespace
    const ns = new k8s.core.v1.Namespace(name, {}, { provider: cluster.provider });
    // Export the Namespace name
    export const namespaceName = ns.metadata.apply(m =>;
    // Create a NGINX Deployment
    const appLabels = { appClass: name };
    const deployment = new k8s.apps.v1.Deployment(name,
            metadata: {
                namespace: namespaceName,
                labels: appLabels,
            spec: {
                replicas: 1,
                selector: { matchLabels: appLabels },
                template: {
                    metadata: {
                        labels: appLabels,
                    spec: {
                        containers: [
                                name: name,
                                image: "nginx:latest",
                                ports: [{ name: "http", containerPort: 80 }]
            provider: cluster.provider,
    // Export the Deployment name
    export const deploymentName = deployment.metadata.apply(m =>;
    // Create a LoadBalancer Service for the NGINX Deployment
    const service = new k8s.core.v1.Service(name,
            metadata: {
                labels: appLabels,
                namespace: namespaceName,
            spec: {
                type: "LoadBalancer",
                ports: [{ port: 80, targetPort: "http" }],
                selector: appLabels,
            provider: cluster.provider,
    // Export the Service name and public LoadBalancer Endpoint
    export const serviceName = service.metadata.apply(m =>;
    export const serviceHostname = service.status.apply(s => s.loadBalancer.ingress[0].hostname)
  2. Run pulumi up, note the preview diff, and select “yes” to preview and deploy the changes.

    As part of the update, you’ll see some new objects in the output: a Namespace in Kubernetes to deploy into, a Deployment resource for the NGINX app, and a LoadBalancer Service to publicly access NGINX.

    Pulumi understands which changes to a given cloud resource can be made in-place, and which require replacement, and computes the minimally disruptive change to achieve the desired state. The CLI will also output incremental status updates, as the Kubernetes changes progress.

    Note: Pulumi auto-generates a suffix for all objects. See the Pulumi Programming Model for more info.

    deploymentName : "helloworld-tlsr4sg5"
    namespaceName  : "helloworld-pz4u5kyq"
    serviceHostname: ""
    serviceName    : "helloworld-l61b5dby"

    If you visit the FQDN listed in serviceHostname you should land on the NGINX welcome page. Note, that it may take a minute or so for the LoadBalancer to become active on AWS.

Access the Kubernetes Cluster using kubectl

To access your new Kubernetes cluster using kubectl, we need to setup the kubeconfig file and download kubectl. We can leverage the Pulumi stack output in the CLI, as Pulumi faciliates exporting these objects for us.

$ pulumi stack output kubeconfig > kubeconfig
$ export KUBECONFIG=`pwd`/kubeconfig
$ export KUBERNETES_VERSION=1.11.5 && sudo curl -s -o /usr/local/bin/kubectl${KUBERNETES_VERSION}/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl && sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/kubectl

$ kubectl version
$ kubectl cluster-info
$ kubectl get nodes

We can also use the stack output to query the cluster for our newly created Deployment:

$ kubectl get deployment $(pulumi stack output deploymentName) --namespace=$(pulumi stack output namespaceName)
$ kubectl get service $(pulumi stack output serviceName) --namespace=$(pulumi stack output namespaceName)

We can also create another NGINX Deployment into the default namespace using kubectl natively:

$ kubectl create deployment my-nginx --image=nginx
$ kubectl get pods
$ kubectl delete deployment my-nginx

Of course, by doing so, resources are outside of Pulumi’s purview, but this simply demonstrates that all the kubectl commands you’re used to will work.


From here on, feel free to experiment with Pulumi. Simply making edits and running pulumi up afterwords, will incrementally update your stack.

Running Off-the-Shelf Guestbook YAML

For example, if you wish to pull existing Kubernetes YAML manifests into Pulumi to aid in your transition, append the following code block to the existing index.ts file and run pulumi up.

This is an example of how to create the standard Kubernetes Guestbook manifests in Pulumi using the Guestbook YAML manifests. We take the additional steps of transforming its properties to use the same Namespace and metadata labels that the NGINX stack uses, and also make its frontend service use a LoadBalancer typed Service to expose it publicly.

// Create resources for the Kubernetes Guestbook from its YAML manifests
const guestbook = new k8s.yaml.ConfigFile("guestbook",
        file: "",
        transformations: [
            (obj: any) => {
                // Do transformations on the YAML to use the same namespace and
                // labels as the NGINX stack above
                if (obj.metadata.labels) {
                    obj.metadata.labels['appClass'] = namespaceName
                } else {
                    obj.metadata.labels = appLabels

                // Make the 'frontend' Service public by setting it to be of type
                // LoadBalancer
                if (obj.kind == "Service" && == "frontend") {
                    if (obj.spec) {
                        obj.spec.type = "LoadBalancer"
        providers: { "kubernetes": cluster.provider },

// Export the Guestbook public LoadBalancer endpoint
export const guestbookPublicHostname =
	guestbook.getResourceProperty("v1/Service", "frontend", "status").apply(s => s.loadBalancer.ingress[0].hostname);

Clean up

Run the following command to tear down the resources that are part of our stack.

  1. Run pulumi destroy to tear down all resources. You’ll be prompted to make sure you really want to delete these resources.

  2. To delete the stack itself, run pulumi stack rm. Note that this command deletes all deployment history from the Pulumi Console and cannot be undone.


In this tutorial, we saw how to use Pulumi programs to create and launch a Managed Kubernetes cluster on AWS EKS.

For a follow-up example on how to use Pulumi programs to create a Kubernetes apps on your new cluster, see Kubernetes Tutorial: Getting Started With Pulumi.

We also encourage you to watch Joe Beda, co-founder of Kubernetes and Heptio, take Pulumi for a spin in an episode of TGIK8s.