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. To download the latest Cloudformation template file (2018-08-30), click here. You can see a list of previous versions by running aws s3 ls s3://amazon-eks/cloudformation/.

CloudFormation Version EKS AMI versions
2018-08-30 amazon-eks-node-v23+

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/.