Difference between EKS managed node group and self-managed node group


Hi guys! I read these two documents about EKS managed node group and self-managed node group, but I still can't understand the difference between these two types. Could you please help me explain with the simple way to understand. Thanks! https://docs.aws.amazon.com/eks/latest/userguide/worker.html https://docs.aws.amazon.com/eks/latest/userguide/managed-node-groups.html

asked 10 days ago34 views
2 Answers

Let's use the Container ship analogy to answer your question. Some basics out of the way first . . .

Node = Host, or to use the analogy The Container Ship. It is where your tasks or groups of containers run.

The question here is how much control do you want over ship building?

Self Managed

With self managed, you build and maintain the ship. You specify your EC2 instance and AMI image (i.e Bottlerocket, Firecracker, Windows) You have more to do when patching your nodes and have complete control of the instance.

Managed Node

AWS manages the servers for you - You just specify the instance type, but not the AMI. Patching can be managed for you.


The last type of node group is Fargate - This is like giving your container to someone else to ship. You don't have a ship. Your container runs on a node with other customers and you are only billed for the compute you use, not the whole node or empty ship. This is considered serverless since you don't provision or maintain servers with this node group type.

You can mix and match Node Groups on the same cluster if you desire.

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answered 10 days ago
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reviewed 9 days ago
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Accepted Answer

With a self-managed node there is a lot you are responsible for configuring. That includes installing the kubelet, container runtime, connecting to the cluster, autoscaling, networking, and more. Most EKS clusters do not need the level of customization that self-managed nodes provide.

Managed node groups handle the lifecycle of each worker node for you. A managed node group will come with all the prerequisite software and permissions, connect itself to the cluster, and provide an easier experience for lifecycle actions like autoscaling and updates. In most cases managed node groups will reduce the operational overhead of self managing nodes and provide a much easier experience.

answered 10 days ago
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