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Some documentation and code for managing blue/green EKS workers
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Some documentation and code for managing blue/green EKS workers



  • You already have a VPC created (and NAT gateway if applicable)
  • You already have [private] subnets for EKS created - see as you may need to modify the filter for your subnets
  • You have AWS credentials setup for the correct region and can Terraform on a basic level
  • A public key for your instance keypair exists in the terraform folder as (or change the path in
  • Your load balancers will attach the autoscaling groups created here
  • cluster-autoscaler is running in your cluster to provide the autoscaling capabilities.
  • You've made any additional changes to the Terrform files as required

Build your AMI

  • Build a CIS hardened EKS AMI (Ubuntu or AL2) here
  • Build off of AWS's official EKS AMI (AL2) here

Run terraform to create your cluster and workers

Clone this repo and update any variables, worker parameters, etc. Then you need to go through the standard "new terraform steps"

  • cd terraform
  • terraform init
  • terraform workspace new <YOUR WORKSPACE NAME> - used as an environment name in the code (i.e. prod, staging, dev)
  • terraform validate - make sure any changes are valid
  • terraform plan
  • terraform apply - to create your cluster with blue workers scaled up.

If you don't want to use us-west-2, modify

Blue/green worker updates

Now that you have a cluster and a fully scaled up worker group, time to scale in the green workers with a new AMI. Here's an outline of the process:

  1. Set desired_capacity, asg_max_size and asg_min_size greater than 0 to scale up the green workers with updated AMI
  2. Wait for them to join the cluster - takes about 30s to build them and another 30-60s or so for them to be ready.
  3. Assuming your Load Balancers are already aware of the autoscaling groups created by the terraform-aws-eks module, make sure the new workers are attached to your LBs before proceeding, or you will be in for a rude awakening when you transition pods in the next step!
  4. Drain the old nodes to transition pods slowly over to the new nodes with If you are confident, you can drain the entire blue node group with this command: kubectl drain -l eks_worker_group=blue --ignore-daemonsets=true --delete-local-data --force
  5. After verifying all the pods have been moved to the right nodes, scale the old worker autoscaling group to zero by setting the parameters in step 1 to 0 on the blue worker group. With the addition of cluster-autoscaler, the node group will not be scaled to zero based on how cluster-autoscaler works. So, you will need to set the minSize to 0 only and cluster-autoscaler will reap the cordoned nodes in 10 minutes or so since they will be detected as uneeded.


  • Simplify the draining/transition process to a single step. Will need CA to support this, as requested here.
  • Write a wrapper around all the terraform, verification, waiting, etc.
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