How AWS Elastic Kubernetes Quickstart Enables MuleSoft Runtime Fabric
I attended a talk at Trailblazer DX (TDX) showcasing the simplicity and power of using AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) Quickstart to deploy MuleSoft’s Anypoint Runtime Fabric (RTF).
During a fifteen-minute demo, the presenter spun up an EKS Quickstart stack, deployed an RTF instance onto it, and deployed a MuleSoft API onto that.
It was a far cry from my first experiences with RTF, which involved a lot of fumbling with Docker images. I learned that EKS Quickstart provides substantial support and tools for hosting your RTF instance on AWS while also smoothing over some of the minutiae of tuning and adjusting it.
I walked away both impressed and curious, wanting to thoroughly explore this capability. It also raised some questions:
- What would be the right scenarios for using these tools?
- What are the trade-offs?
- What are some examples of valuable use cases?
Here’s what I discovered.
What are the Basic Capabilities of EKS Quickstart with RTF?
The steps that Quickstart goes through are relatively straightforward, with a baseline set of configurations already in place for RTF:
- AWS deploys and manages a Kubernetes cluster for you, using Quickstart to simplify the process.
- From Anypoint Platform, you install RTF on that Kubernetes cluster.
- You then use that cluster to deploy your APIs onto RTF.
Benefits of deploying RTF with AWS EKS Quickstart
Some positives are immediately apparent.
Primarily, EKS Quickstart makes RTF far more approachable. Without prior RTF experience, getting to the point of deploying an API on your RTF instance is significantly more complicated and involved than the relative ease of deploying that same API on CloudHub.
EKS Quickstart eliminates much of that unfamiliarity and the associated reluctance to adopt RTF by using reasonable default settings across the board. However, the point of using RTF is the flexibility and additional control that it offers over CloudHub, so solely relying on these defaults means missing out on some of those benefits.
In a blog contrasting CloudHub and RTF, MuleSoft states:
“CloudHub provides a powerful platform for hosting Mule applications, with little to no setup required, built-in scaling, advanced management features, and hosting and support. Runtime Fabric provides additional flexibility and opportunities for granular control, but more care must be taken to maintain the balance between scalability and performance.”
Put another way, RTF allows you control over the networking, logging, and routing of your MuleSoft APIs. CloudHub manages that for you. EKS Quickstart manages much of it for you as well. So why bother trying EKS Quickstart with RTF? There are a few good use cases where these tools make a lot of sense.
AWS EKS Quickstart for Runtime Fabric: A Use Case
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of CloudHub is helpful to grasp where AWS EKS Quickstart can be valuable:
Advantages of CloudHub:
- Easy setup
- Minimal need for tuning and adjustments
- Great for prototyping a new API or instance
- Useful for developer collaboration
Disadvantages of CloudHub:
- Less flexibility
- Can’t fine-tune logging, routing, networks, scaling, etc.
EKS Quickstart includes many of the same benefits as CloudHub, plus additional flexibility. However, the built-in flexibility means that the implementor needs to dig deep in order to understand the available levers.
While RTF comes with additional overhead, EKS Quickstart offers a significantly lower barrier to entry.
This becomes especially useful for prototyping, learning RTF, and testing RTF configurations.
The first clear benefit is when prototyping a new API or instance.
If you determine that CloudHub’s fully managed approach doesn’t provide the flexibility you need, EKS Quickstart can provide more advanced options and customization to better fit your strategy and technology needs. The ability to rapidly deploy an RTF instance can be done with EKS Quickstart almost as easily as CloudHub… but with the added customization and flexibility that isn’t available with CloudHub.
Using EKS Quickstart, you can learn how to use Kubernetes and RTF without investing a lot of time into understanding the basics.
This allows you to understand RTF configuration and setup details by providing an easy-to-deploy, yet highly customizable, baseline structure. You can then focus on the particular points where RTF can provide your organization with value and let AWS handle the rest.
Testing RTF Configurations
Testing is another valuable use case for EKS Quickstart.
If you have an existing RTF instance and you're looking to try a different configuration without disrupting the existing one, you can have a new EKS Quickstart and RTF instance set up with Quickstart in no time to test it out.
MuleSoft Runtime Fabric (RTF) is a powerful alternative to Cloudhub, which can provide you with additional customization, flexibility, and control. This comes with the tradeoff of a slightly more complex setup, a possible need for tuning and adjustments, and additional exploration into the nuances of RFT.
By simplifying RTF’s knowledge-heavy barrier to entry, EKS Quickstart could be a good solution for new and existing container environments. It’s also worth noting that similar tools exist for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKS), which can provide many of the same benefits outlined above depending on your existing cloud environment.
If you’re considering giving AWS EKS Quickstart a try, we’d love to hear from you and understand how you're using it and what value it brings to your organization. Big Compass has extensive experience with MuleSoft architecture, design, development, and deployment, and we're always interested in learning more about how companies are using the platform. We also have a Cloud practice with expertise in EKS, so we can support all aspects of adopting RTF on self-managed Kubernetes.