Fluent Bit for Amazon EKS on AWS Fargate is here

Akshay Ram, Prithvi Ramesh, Michael Hausenblas

In issue 701 of our containers roadmap we discussed supporting our CNCF Fluent Bit-based log router in the context of EKS on Fargate. In this blog post we provide you context on this new feature and walk you through the usage of it, shipping logs directly to CloudWatch with a few configuration steps.

Where previously you had to run a sidecar to route container logs from Amazon EKS pods running on AWS Fargate, you can now use a built-in log router. This means there are no sidecars to install or maintain. You simply select where you want to send your data and logs are routed to a destination of your choice.

We set to build this feature keeping two design tenets:

  1. Consistency where it matters by using native Kubernetes objects where applicable to give customers a consistent interface across compute types (EC2, managed node groups and Fargate).
  2. Simplify where possible by managing more infrastructure or add-ons for customers.

This led us to choose the Fluent Bit configuration language and the Kubernetes ConfigMap as the primary interface to configure logging as it is standard practice in Kubernetes clusters. We have simplified the lifecycle management of Fluent Bit by including it in the platform. Tell us where logs should go and let AWS manage the rest.

With the new built-in logging support, you select where you want to send your data and logs are routed to a destination of your choice. Under the hood, EKS on Fargate uses a version of Fluent Bit for AWS, an upstream conformant distribution of Fluent Bit managed by AWS.

In order to use Fluent Bit-based logging in EKS on Fargate you apply a ConfigMap to your Amazon EKS clusters using Fluent Bit’s configuration as a data value, defining where container logs will be shipped to. This logging ConfigMap has to be used in a fixed namespace called aws-observability has a cluster-wide effect, meaning that you can send application-level logs from any application in any namespace. To define the log destination of your choice you use Fluent Bit’s configuration language. You can choose between CloudWatch, Elasticsearch, Kinesis Firehose and Kinesis Streams as outputs. Further, you can send logs to partner destinations like Datadog, Splunk, and more via Firehose or CloudWatch and we’re working on supporting partner output plugins directly, as well.

Sending logs to CloudWatch

In the following we show you how to use cloudwatch_logs (a FluentBit output plugin written in C) to send logs from a workload running in an EKS on Fargate cluster to CloudWatch.

First create an EKS on Fargate cluster as follows: store the following eksctl configuration in a file called eks-cluster-config.yaml:

kind: ClusterConfig
  name: fluentbit
  region: eu-west-1
  version: '1.18'
  withOIDC: true
  - name: defaultfp
      - namespace: demo
      - namespace: kube-system
    enableTypes: ["*"]

And create the EKS cluster using:

eksctl create cluster -f eks-cluster-config.yaml

Note that in order for the EKS control plane and and Fargate profile creation to complete, this can take some 15 to 20min.

Next, create the dedicated aws-observability namespace and the ConfigMap for Fluent Bit by saving the following content to a file called fluentbit-config.yaml:

kind: Namespace
apiVersion: v1
  name: aws-observability
    aws-observability: enabled
kind: ConfigMap
apiVersion: v1
  name: aws-logging
  namespace: aws-observability
  output.conf: |
        Name cloudwatch_logs
        Match   *
        region eu-west-1
        log_group_name fluent-bit-cloudwatch
        log_stream_prefix from-fluent-bit-
        auto_create_group On

In above YAML manifest, note the fluent-bit-cloudwatch value as the name of the CloudWatch log group that is automatically created as soon as your apps start logging.

Now it’s time to create the Fluent Bit configuration using the following command:

kubectl apply -f fluentbit-config.yaml

We want to verify if the Fluent Bit ConfigMap is in place, so execute the following command and you should see a similar output:

$ kubectl -n aws-observability get cm
NAMESPACE           NAME                                 DATA   AGE
aws-observability   aws-logging                          1      3h25m

With Fluent Bit set up we next need to give it the permission to write to CloudWatch. We do that by first downloading the policy locally:

curl -o permissions.json \

And next we create the policy and attach it to the pod execution role of your EKS on Fargate cluster:

aws iam create-policy \
        --policy-name FluentBitEKSFargate \
        --policy-document file://permissions.json 

aws iam attach-role-policy \
        --policy-arn arn:aws:iam::123456789012:policy/FluentBitEKSFargate \
        --role-name eksctl-fluentbit-cluster-FargatePodExecutionRole-XXXXXXXXXX

In above command you have to replace eksctl-fluentbit-cluster-FargatePodExecutionRole-XXXXXXXXXX with your own (for example via the EKS console → Fargate profile). The same applies for the account ID (123456789012) in arn:aws:iam::123456789012:policy/FluentBitEKSFargate which you have to replace with your own account ID.

With the logging infrastructure set up we can now generate logs that get shipped to CloudWatch.

First we create a service that generate logs based on HTTP interface interactions. Create a file called logger-server.yaml and enter the following content:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: logger-server
      app: nginx
  replicas: 1
        app: nginx
      - name: main
        image: nginx:1.14.2
        - containerPort: 80

Next, create the deployment, its pod and a corresponding service that routes traffic to it:

kubectl -n demo apply -f logger-server.yaml && kubectl -n demo expose deploy logger-server

Let’s verify if the pod that the logger-server deployment manages in fact has logging enabled as we would expect:

# find the name of the logger-server pod:
$ kubectl -n demo get po -l app=nginx
NAME                            READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
logger-server-fb8546f69-qflh2   1/1     Running   0          21h

# get details about the logger-server pod:
$ kubectl -n demo describe po/logger-server-fb8546f69-qflh2    
Name:                 logger-server-fb8546f69-qflh2
Namespace:            demo
Priority:             2000001000
Priority Class Name:  system-node-critical
Start Time:           Wed, 25 Nov 2020 16:01:51 +0000
Labels:               app=nginx
Annotations:          CapacityProvisioned: 0.25vCPU 0.5GB
                      Logging: LoggingEnabled
  Type    Reason          Age   From               Message
  ----    ------          ----  ----               -------
  Normal  LoggingEnabled  2m7s  fargate-scheduler  Successfully enabled logging for pod
  Normal  Scheduled       44s   fargate-scheduler  Successfully assigned demo/logger-server-fb8546f69-qflh2 to
  Normal  Pulling         45s   kubelet            Pulling image "nginx:1.14.2"
  Normal  Pulled          40s   kubelet            Successfully pulled image "nginx:1.14.2"
  Normal  Created         39s   kubelet            Created container main
  Normal  Started         39s   kubelet            Started container main

That looks great. We can see the confirmation in the events that says Successfully enabled logging for pod
and that means we should be good to move on to the next and final step: generate logs.

To cause the logger-server to generate logs we forward the service to our local environment and use curl as the client to issue GET requests; in addition we watch the logs locally. Let’s do that, using three terminals:

# [terminal 1] forward the logger-server traffic locally:
$ kubectl -n demo port-forward svc/logger-server 8080:80 
Forwarding from -> 80
Forwarding from [::1]:8080 -> 80
Handling connection for 8080

# [terminal 2] watch logs locally:
$ kubectl -n demo logs deploy/logger-server -f - - [25/Nov/2020:16:03:41 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 612 "-" "curl/7.64.1" "-" - - [25/Nov/2020:16:03:42 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 612 "-" "curl/7.64.1" "-" - - [25/Nov/2020:16:03:43 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 612 "-" "curl/7.64.1" "-"

# [terminal 3] generate HTTP traffic:
$ curl localhost:8080
<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Welcome to nginx!</title>

The log group name we specified in the Fluent Bit config map is fluent-bit-cloudwatch so let’s check that in the CloudWatch console:

Hurray, all worked as expected! Before we wrap up, some more tips and tricks to successfully using Fluent Bit on EKS Fargate.

Usage consideration

We suggest you factor for some additional resources to be used by the log router. Our tests show that you should factor up to 50 MB memory as suggested headroom. To do that, add resources to your application pod via resource requests as per docs as the Fluent Bit process runs alongside it. If you expect your application to generate logs at very high throughput, you should factor up to 100 MB as suggested headroom.

Depending on your plug-in (log destination) of choice, you pay for log ingestion and storage costs separately, for example refer to the  CloudWatch pricing page for details there.

At launch we support the following Kubernetes and EKS platform versions:

  • Kubernetes v1.15: platform version eks.6
  • Kubernetes 1.16: platform version eks.5
  • Kubernetes 1.17: platform version eks.5
  • Kubernetes1.18: platform version eks.3

Let us know your experience with this new integrated logging experience and suggestions via our container roadmap and watch out for re:Invent 2020 sessions for more details and announcements.

Akshay Ram

Akshay Ram

Akshay is a Sr. Product Manager, Technical for AWS Fargate. When not helping to build the cloud, he spends his free time clocking many miles in the Seattle area with his Siberian Husky, Yoda.

Prithvi Ramesh

Prithvi Ramesh

Prithvi is a Software Development Engineer in the EKS team.