Skip to content
Switch branches/tags
Go to file

Latest commit


Failed to load latest commit information.

Amazon EKS AMI Build Specification

This repository contains resources and configuration scripts for building a custom Amazon EKS AMI with HashiCorp Packer. This is the same configuration that Amazon EKS uses to create the official Amazon EKS-optimized AMI.


You must have Packer installed on your local system. For more information, see Installing Packer in the Packer documentation. You must also have AWS account credentials configured so that Packer can make calls to AWS API operations on your behalf. For more information, see Authentication in the Packer documentation.

Note The default instance type to build this AMI is an m4.large and does not qualify for the AWS free tier. You are charged for any instances created when building this AMI.

Building the AMI

A Makefile is provided to build the AMI, but it is just a small wrapper around invoking Packer directly. You can initiate the build process by running the following command in the root of this repository:


The Makefile runs Packer with the eks-worker-al2.json build specification template and the amazon-ebs builder. An instance is launched and the Packer Shell Provisioner runs the script on the instance to install software and perform other necessary configuration tasks. Then, Packer creates an AMI from the instance and terminates the instance after the AMI is created.

Using the AMI

If you are just getting started with Amazon EKS, we recommend that you follow our Getting Started chapter in the Amazon EKS User Guide. If you already have a cluster, and you want to launch a node group with your new AMI, see Launching Amazon EKS Worker Nodes in the Amazon EKS User Guide.

The amazon-eks-nodegroup.yaml AWS CloudFormation template in this repository is provided to launch a node group with the new AMI ID that is returned when Packer finishes building. Note that there is important Amazon EC2 user data in this CloudFormation template that bootstraps the worker nodes when they are launched so that they can register with your Amazon EKS cluster. Your nodes cannot register properly without this user data.

Compatibility with CloudFormation Template

The CloudFormation template for EKS Nodes is published in the S3 bucket amazon-eks under the path cloudformation. You can see a list of previous versions by running aws s3 ls s3://amazon-eks/cloudformation/.

CloudFormation Version EKS AMI versions amazon-vpc-cni-k8s
2019-09-27 amazon-eks-node-(1.14,1.13,1.12,1.11)-v20190927 v1.5.4
2019-09-17 amazon-eks-node-(1.14,1.13,1.12,1.11)-v20190906 v1.5.3
2019-02-11 amazon-eks-node-(1.12,1.11,1.10)-v20190327 v1.3.2 (for p3dn.24xlarge instances)
2019-02-11 amazon-eks-node-(1.11,1.10)-v20190220 v1.3.2 (for p3dn.24xlarge instances)
2019-02-11 amazon-eks-node-(1.11,1.10)-v20190211 v1.3.2 (for p3dn.24xlarge instances)
2018-12-10 amazon-eks-node-(1.11,1.10)-v20181210 v1.2.1
2018-11-07 amazon-eks-node-v25+ v1.2.1 (for t3 and r5 instances)
2018-08-30 amazon-eks-node-v23+ v1.1.0
2018-08-21 amazon-eks-node-v23+ v1.1.0

For older versions of the EKS AMI (v20-v22), you can find the CloudFormation templates in the same bucket under the path s3://amazon-eks/1.10.3/2018-06-05/.

AL2 / Linux Kernel Information

By default, the amazon-eks-ami uses a source_ami_filter that selects the latest hvm AL2 AMI for the given architecture as the base AMI. For more information on what kernel versions are running on published Amazon EKS optimized Linux AMIs, see the public documentation.

When building an AMI, you can set the kernel_version to 4.14 or 5.4 to customize the kernel version. The script contains the logic for updating and upgrading the kernel. For Kubernetes versions 1.18 and below, it uses the 4.14 kernel if not set, and it will install the latest patches. For Kubernetes version 1.19 and above, it uses the 5.4 kernel if not set.


For security issues or concerns, please do not open an issue or pull request on GitHub. Please report any suspected or confirmed security issues to AWS Security

License Summary

This sample code is made available under a modified MIT license. See the LICENSE file.