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Core Concepts

This document provides a high level overview of the Core Concepts that are embedded in EKS Blueprints. For the purposes of this document, we will assume the reader is familiar with Git, Docker, Kubernetes and AWS.

Concept Description
Cluster An Amazon EKS Cluster and associated worker groups.
Add-on Operational software that provides key functionality to support your Kubernetes applications.
Team A logical grouping of IAM identities that have access to Kubernetes resources.
Pipeline Continuous Delivery pipelines for deploying clusters and add-ons.
Application An application that runs within an EKS Cluster.


A cluster is simply an EKS cluster. EKS Blueprints provides for customizing the compute options you leverage with your clusters. The framework currently supports EC2, Fargate and BottleRocket instances. It also supports managed and self-managed node groups. To specify the type of compute you want to use for your cluster, you use the managed_node_groups, self_managed_nodegroups, or fargate_profiles variables.

See our Node Groups documentation and our Node Group example directory for detailed information.


Add-ons allow you to configure the operational tools that you would like to deploy into your EKS cluster. When you configure add-ons for a cluster, the add-ons will be provisioned at deploy time by leveraging the Terraform Helm provider. Add-ons can deploy both Kubernetes specific resources and AWS resources needed to support add-on functionality.

For example, the metrics-server add-on only deploys the Kubernetes manifests that are needed to run the Kubernetes Metrics Server. By contrast, the aws-load-balancer-controller add-on deploys both Kubernetes YAML, in addition to creating resources via AWS APIs that are needed to support the AWS Load Balancer Controller functionality.

EKS Blueprints allows you to manage your add-ons directly via Terraform (by leveraging the Terraform Helm provider) or via GitOps with ArgoCD. See our Add-ons documentation page for detailed information.


Teams allow you to configure the logical grouping of users that have access to your EKS clusters, in addition to the access permissions they are granted. EKS Blueprints currently supports two types of teams: application-team and platform-team. application-team members are granted access to specific namespaces. platform-team members are granted administrative access to your clusters.

See our Teams documentation page for detailed information.


Applications represent the actual workloads that run within a Kubernetes cluster. The framework leverages a GitOps approach for deploying applications onto clusters.

See our Applications documentation for detailed information.