No doubt about it, Kubernetes is hot. By all indications, the open-source project created by Google, and now shepherded by the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation), has won the war for container orchestration dominance. Would-be competitors such as Mesosphere and Docker Inc. have adopted Kubernetes, the leading PaaS stacks such as OpenShift and Cloud Foundry now include it, and all of the major cloud vendors now support it.

But that doesn’t mean that all of the Kubernetes offerings are the same—or equal. In this article, we’ll break down the key components of managed Kubernetes, and explore how each of the three major cloud providers—Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes, Azure Kubernetes Service, and Google Kubernetes Engine—differs in its support of the platform.

Setting up the Kubernetes cluster

In our tests, all three services had no problem bringing up a cluster. Where they start to differ is in the number of steps required. Amazon EKS, for instance, requires a number of additional steps to create a cluster. With Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service and Google Kubernetes Engine, however, a few quick commands do the trick, and the cluster is up and running within minutes. You also have to install separate packages for Amazon, such as heptio-authenticator, which enables federated authentication using AWS Identity and Access Management.