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Using GitHub Actions to Automate Your AWS EKS and ECS Workflows

GitHub Actions is a useful tool for automating software development operations that use Amazon Web Services (AWS). We’ll look at how to utilize GitHub Actions to automate your AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) activities. In addition, we will demonstrate how to set up a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline using GitHub Actions and AWS.

Benefits of GitHub Actions

  1. The ability to automate your CI/CD process is one of the most important advantages of using GitHub Actions. You can design a series of tasks that are triggered by specified events, such as code pushes or pull requests, using GitHub Actions. 
  2. The flexibility to integrate with other tools and services is another advantage of using GitHub Actions. GitHub Actions can be used to trigger actions in other systems, such as AWS, and actions from other systems can be used in your workflows. 
  3. GitHub Actions integrates seamlessly with the GitHub platform, making it easier and more effective for developers to work and communicate.
  4. GitHub Actions offers a variety of pre-built actions and integrations, as well as the option to create new actions, providing developers with greater flexibility and customization for their workflows.
  5. GitHub Actions can help developers deliver higher-quality code with fewer errors by automating testing and quality assurance operations.
  6. GitHub Actions provides tools and integrations for dealing with compliance and security issues including secrets management and vulnerability scanning, assisting developers in meeting regulatory and security standards.

How to utilize GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions to trigger deployments to ECS or EKS whenever code changes are pushed to your repository. Let’s take a look at how you can utilize GitHub Actions to automate your ECS and EKS workflows. 

  1. To get started, you’ll need to create a GitHub repository and a workflow file. In your repository, you can specify multiple workflows, each with its own set of activities and triggers.
  2. Then, you may define a sequence of activities that are triggered by specified events, such as code pushes or pull requests.
  3. For example, anytime code changes are posted to a specific branch, you may construct a workflow that builds and deploys a containerized application to ECS or EKS. 
  4. To communicate with ECS and EKS, you can use AWS actions such as establishing or changing tasks, services, and clusters
  5. Other actions can be used to conduct operations such as generating Docker images, uploading images to Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR), and performing tests.

Construct workflow

  1. Install the GitHub Actions app on your repository, and then create a new workflow by placing a.yml file in the .github/workflows directory.
  1. Define your workflow’s trigger, such as a code push to the master branch or the creation of a pull request.

  2. Configure your environment variables and secrets, which can be used to store sensitive data such as AWS access keys.

  3. Install any prerequisites for your workflows, such as the AWS CLI or the AWS CDK.
  4. Configure your AWS CLI credentials and the default region.

  5. Use AWS actions to interface with ECS or EKS to automate processes like establishing or modifying tasks and services, or deploying and managing Kubernetes applications.
  6. As needed, add more jobs and actions, such as running tests or creating and deploying code.
  7. Manually trigger your workflow or submit code to your repository to test it.
  8. Monitor your workflow and troubleshoot any problems that may develop.

The following YAML file, for example, describes a process that is triggered by code pushes to the master branch and consists of two tasks: one to generate the Docker image and one to deploy the image to ECS or EKS.

      - master

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - uses: actions/checkout@v2
    - uses: actions/setup-node@v2
        node-version: 16
    - run: npm install
    - run: npm run build
    - uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecr-login@v1
    - uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecr-create-repository@v1
        repository-name: my-initial-app
    - run: |
        docker build -t my-initial-app .
        docker tag my-initial-app:latest
    - uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecr-push@v1
        image-digest: latest
        repository-name: my-initial-app
    - uses: aws-actions/ecs-deploy@v1
        cluster: my-cluster
        service: my-service
        task-definition: my-task-definition
        region: REGION
        aws-access-key-id: ${{ secrets.AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
        aws-secret-access-key: ${{ secrets.AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}

This procedure begins with the definition of an event trigger, in this case, a code push to the master branch. It then constructs a job that runs on an Ubuntu system and comprises a sequence of processes for things like checking out code, installing dependencies, creating the application, and deploying it to ECS.

  1. The first step is using the actions/checkout action to fetch the code from the repository.
  2. The actions/setup-node action is then used to create a Node.js environment and install the provided version of Node.js. 
  3. The next step executes the npm install command to install the application’s dependencies. 
  4. To create the application, the fourth step executes the npm run build command.
  5. The fifth step logs into Amazon ECR using the aws-actions/amazon-ecr-login action, which is required to push images to the registry. 
  6. If no repository exists in ECR, the sixth step utilizes the aws-actions/amazon-ecr-new-repository action to create one. 
  7. The seventh step is to create a Docker image for the application and tag it with the most recent version.
  8. To submit the image to the ECR repository, the eighth step employs the aws-actions/amazon-ecr-push action. 
  9. Finally, the ninth step deploys the application to ECS using the aws-actions/ecs-deploy action. You must provide the cluster, service, and task definition to deploy to, as well as the region and AWS credentials to utilize, in this step.


Finally, GitHub Actions is an effective solution for automating your AWS EKS and ECS activities. You may define and automate complicated workflows with GitHub Actions, which can save you time and effort while also ensuring that your code is always up-to-date and dependable. Whether you are a developer or an IT professional, GitHub Actions can help you optimize your workflows and produce better applications.

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