Container orchestration has become the cornerstone of modern application development and deployment. Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration platform, has gained immense popularity for its ability to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) are two of the leading managed Kubernetes services, each offering unique features and advantages for businesses looking to harness the potential of Kubernetes. The subsequent sections below will provide a comprehensive GKE vs. EKS comparison, exploring the benefits, constraints, and implementation options of each Kubernetes service.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) – Key Features

Integration with Google Cloud: Seamlessly integrated with the Google Cloud ecosystem, GKE is an ideal choice for organizations already invested in the Google Cloud platform. This tight integration fosters effortless access to a spectrum of complementary Google Cloud services such as Cloud Storage, BigQuery, and Cloud Pub/Sub, thereby enhancing the versatility and capabilities of cloud-native applications.

Managed Control Plane: GKE assumes the responsibility of managing the Kubernetes control plane, ensuring unwavering high availability and scalability. This alleviates operational burdens associated with the intricate details of cluster management and enables the concentration of resources toward the optimization and fine-tuning of applications. 

Autoscaling and Load Balancing: Dependable autoscaling capabilities automatically adapt the node count in response to shifting resource utilization patterns. Additionally, GKE seamlessly integrates with Google Cloud load balancers, enhancing the efficiency of traffic distribution and bolstering the overall reliability and performance of applications.

Security: GKE places a strong emphasis on security, offering a robust array of protective features. These include automatic node upgrades to keep infrastructure current with patches and updates, integrated identity and access management to control user privileges, and comprehensive support for private clusters, safeguarding critical workloads and data from potential threats and unauthorized access.

Pricing: A per-second billing model ensures cost efficiency, particularly for workloads characterized by fluctuating resource demands. This billing flexibility enables the optimization of cloud expenditure and helps align cloud expenses with actual utilization.

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) – Key Features

Integration with AWS: EKS seamlessly integrates with the AWS ecosystem, allowing users to take advantage of AWS services such as Amazon RDS, Amazon S3, and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). This integration extends the reach and capabilities of EKS, enhancing the functionality of applications within the AWS environment.

Flexible Cluster Management: EKS offers greater control over the Kubernetes control plane and provides the ability to tailor and fine-tune its configurations to meet specific requirements. This flexibility helps adapt cluster management to suit unique operational needs and preferences.

Spot Instances: EKS supports the creation and management of Amazon EC2 Spot Instances resulting in substantial cost savings, potentially up to 90% compared to on-demand prices. Spot Instances are particularly advantageous for fault-tolerant workloads and can be leveraged to harness cost efficiency without compromising performance or availability.

Ecosystem and Marketplace: AWS has a vast ecosystem and marketplace, offering a diverse array of third-party tools and services that can be integrated into EKS clusters. This rich ecosystem broadens the horizons of possibilities, enabling the augmentation of Kubernetes workloads to enhance functionality and versatility.

Pricing: A per-hour billing model can be cost-effective for stable workloads. However, it may not offer the same billing granularity as GKE which offers per-second billing ideal for dynamic workloads.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

Setting up a GKE cluster is a straightforward process, particularly for existing Google Cloud users. The provisioning of GKE clusters can be accomplished using the Google Cloud Console, the Google Cloud command-line tool, or infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools such as Terraform.


  • Streamlined and efficient setup, particularly convenient for organizations already immersed in the Google Cloud ecosystem.
  • Access to a comprehensive selection of Terraform modules dedicated to GKE within the Terraform Registry, simplifying infrastructure provisioning.
  • Google Cloud’s provision of a generous free tier for GKE fosters cost-effectiveness, rendering it an attractive choice for small-scale projects.


  • The simplicity of the setup process may inadvertently lead to overspending if not vigilantly managed and monitored.
  • Engaging with Terraform for GKE configuration might demand a level of familiarity with infrastructure-as-code practices, potentially posing a challenge for users less experienced in this domain.

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) entails a slightly more comprehensive setup process when compared to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). However, it presents an array of advanced customization options that cater to specific requirements. An EKS cluster can be created using the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command-Line-Interface (CLI), or Terraform modules designed for EKS deployment.


  • Greater control over cluster configuration allowing for tailored adjustments to meet unique operational needs.
  • Seamless integration with a wide array of AWS services, extending the functionality of EKS clusters and enabling a broader range of use cases.
  • The availability of an EKS-optimized Amazon Machine Image (AMI) streamlines node setup, simplifying the process of configuring and launching worker nodes.


  • The setup process may prove more intricate, especially for individuals new to Kubernetes or AWS, requiring a steeper learning curve.
  • Utilizing Terraform modules for EKS setup might necessitate additional configuration and expertise, potentially posing a challenge for those less familiar with infrastructure-as-code practices.

Conclusion – GKE vs. EKS

The selection between Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) hinges on the specific requirements of an organization and its existing cloud infrastructure. GKE stands out due to its simplicity and seamless integration with Google Cloud services, making it a robust option for enterprises already invested in Google Cloud. In contrast, EKS offers a wider range of customization possibilities and integrates harmoniously within the AWS ecosystem, making it an appealing choice for businesses centered around AWS.

To make an informed decision, it is essential to consider the unique needs of the project, familiarity with the respective cloud providers, and the desired level of control. Both GKE and EKS offer dependable managed Kubernetes solutions, allowing for a focus on the deployment and scalability of containerized applications, all while mitigating the intricacies associated with managing the underlying infrastructure.

About TrackIt

TrackIt is an international AWS cloud consulting, systems integration, and software development firm headquartered in Marina del Rey, CA.

We have built our reputation on helping media companies architect and implement cost-effective, reliable, and scalable Media & Entertainment workflows in the cloud. These include streaming and on-demand video solutions, media asset management, and archiving, incorporating the latest AI technology to build bespoke media solutions tailored to customer requirements.

Cloud-native software development is at the foundation of what we do. We specialize in Application Modernization, Containerization, Infrastructure as Code and event-driven serverless architectures by leveraging the latest AWS services. Along with our Managed Services offerings which provide 24/7 cloud infrastructure maintenance and support, we are able to provide complete solutions for the media industry.