Elastic Machine Pool

Run EKS workloads on 50% fewer nodes

Elastic Machine Pool (EMP) is not an autoscaler or a FinOps tool. It’s a highly efficient compute engine for public clouds. EMP creates an alternative hypervisor/virtualization layer on AWS bare metal. It then leverages VM over-provisioning and live migration to dramatically improve resource utilization beyond what’s possible with current solutions.

Utilize the true power of Virtualization to transform your cloud infrastructure

EMP deploys a pool of AWS bare metal nodes underneath to create an alternate hypervisor & virtualization layer. Using this, EMP creates alternate VMs called Elastic VMs (EVMs) as worker nodes for your EKS clusters.

A diagram showing the difference of EKS with & without using EMP. EMP deploys an alternate virtualization layer, using AWS bare metal underneath, creating  “Elastic VMs” (EVMs), that look and feel exactly like regular EC2 VMs

EMP over-provisions resources to maximize utilization

Diagram showing how EMP works to provide higher utilized bare metal capacity in aggregate
  • Your Kubernetes workloads and configurations stay the same. But underneath the hood, EMP packs more Elastic VMs (EVMs) on top of fewer bare metal servers to achieve resource over-provisioning.
  • This eliminates bin-packing overhead and the need to tweak your application’s request and limit values for appropriate resource configuration.

EMP auto-rebalances EVMs across the Bare Metal pool

  • When the resource usage for the EVMs on a bare metal node starts going up, EMP will “live migrate” some EVMs to another bare metal server in the bare metal pool.
  • This is done using real-time metrics and historical usage trend patterns. EMP collects these metrics at frequent intervals, 24/7.
  • Zero pod downtime! Your pods stay alive without churn, and the app SLA is not compromised.
A diagram showing how EMP rebalances resources in real-time

Zero pod disruption

EMP uses “Live Migration” technology to ensure movement of EVMs across AWS bare metal nodes without disrupting the pods. This is especially important for large Java-based monolithic applications.

Zero pod disruption

Existing tools don’t solve the fundamental problem of low utilization

CapabilityPlatform9KarpenterCloudHealthCloudabilityCloudZeroKubecost
Optimize usage via improved utilizationCheck / YesX / NoX / NoX / NoX / NoX / No
Zero pod disruptionCheck / YesX / NoX / NoX / NoX / NoX / No
Eliminate engineering and ops back and forthCheck / YesX / NoX / NoX / NoX / NoX / No
Optimize usage via bin packingCheck / YesCheck / YesX / NoX / NoX / NoX / No
Cost visibilityCheck / YesX / NoCheck / YesCheck / YesCheck / YesCheck / Yes
Resource taggingX / NoX / NoCheck / YesCheck / YesCheck / YesX / No
Unit cost allocationX / NoX / NoCheck / YesCheck / YesCheck / YesCheck / Yes

Achieve over 70% utilization using EMP

EMP’s unique approach works at the virtualization and Bare Metal layers, achieving utilization gains not possible with any other existing tools or technologies.

EMP advantages

Pay only when you save

Save yourself the hassle of budget negotiations and approval chains.

  • Budget-free solution: No licensing fees or yearly subscriptions necessary. Pay only when you see actual savings on your EKS bills.
  • Demonstrable ROI: Start experiencing cost savings  in just a few weeks, demonstrating ROI and value.

Platform9 will waive EMP fees for the first year of usage, up to a maximum of $50,000.

An illustration showing a laptop calculating the high cost of an EKS bill

Additional Resources

Announcing Elastic Machine Pool: The most cost-effective Compute Engine for EKS

Announcing Elastic Machine Pool: The most cost-effective Compute Engine for EKS

How a SaaS data management company slashed AWS EKS costs

How a SaaS data management company slashed AWS EKS costs by 58%

The preview image for the EKS Cost Optimization Guide resource shows a collage of a monetary concept over a technology background

EKS Cost Optimization Guide – steps to optimize costs with EKS

The preview image for the Elastic Machine Pool Datasheet shows a close-up image of a coil or spring

Elastic Machine Pool datasheet — Understand how EMP works

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Platform9 Elastic Machine Pool (EMP)?
Elastic Machine Pool (EMP) is a new computing engine designed for AWS EKS that can double resource utilization while lowering costs by up to 50%. Its patent-pending software uses proven server consolidation principles and modern cloud infrastructure to dynamically scale compute instances according to actual resource usage, without impacting the application SLAs.
What results can I expect from implementing EMP?
Within weeks, most customers’ cluster utilization increases from 15-30% to more than 50%.
How do I use EMP?
EMP integrates seamlessly with your existing EKS environment. Just provide your AWS credentials, and within minutes, you can install EMP and configure it to work with your existing, or new EKS clusters. You can then direct some or all of your workloads to run on EMP, providing you with cost savings.
How does EMP help DevOps teams and Developers?
Application developers frequently define the resource requirements of their workloads based on peak CPU and memory requirements. However, real-world usage may frequently vary or be significantly lower than configured values for the majority of the time, necessitating ongoing resource parameter adjustments by DevOps teams or Developers. EMP intelligently detects actual usage and automatically fine-tunes computing resources to meet the needs of the application, eliminating the need for manual configurations.

Developers can continue to base their application’s resource requirements on peak usage. At the same time, operations teams gain a powerful lever to rein in expenses.

Does EMP require changes to my applications?
No, EMP performs its optimization automatically in the background without any app changes or impact on SLAs.
Will EMP impact my application SLAs?
No. One of the key value propositions of EMP is that it guarantees your application’s SLA 100% of the time. EMP fully understands the resource request and limit values set by your Developers for your applications. EMP combines this information with the application’s actual usage to dynamically adjust the amount of resources given to your application. So when your application actually needs the peak resources it’s configured to use, it will always be given those resources. Hence your application SLA will never be impacted with EMP.
What Kubernetes platforms does EMP support?
EMP currently only integrates with and supports AWS EKS clusters—support for other platforms is coming soon.
Why should we consider EMP when we are already using other cost management tools?
There are several monitoring and visibility tools available on the market that claim to provide significant cost savings for your Kubernetes environment. CloudHealth, Cloudability, and Datadog are great tools for understanding your cloud costs and identifying areas where you can save money. However, they do not specifically focus on automating the changes needed to increase your overall resource utilization.

Then there are other tools that make it easy to use spot instances with your EKS clusters to reduce your costs. However, spot instances are not a good fit for many applications that can not tolerate node interrupts, thus putting a ceiling on the amount of savings such tools can offer.

As a result, despite the use of these tools, Kubernetes utilization remains shockingly low, ranging between 15 and 30%. That means 70% or more of your k8s cloud resources are being completely wasted. This inefficiency is silently swelling costs to unsustainable levels.

With EMP, there is no more manual tweaking or negotiating with engineers. Let the engineers set the requests and limits on the resources that they desire, and EMP will work behind the scenes to optimize your EKS resource utilization based on demand.

EMP is complementary to your existing tools and can provide value on top of these technologies by maximizing utilization on the fly.

Can we test EMP ourselves?
We encourage you to validate the EMP value proposition through a low-risk POC. The best way to get started is to spin up a new EKS cluster or take an existing non production EKS cluster and enable the EMP compute engine for that cluster, then start deploying a small portion of your workloads using EMP. This will enable your teams to see real utilization gains without committing production clusters. No changes are required to your existing EKS clusters, tooling, or workloads.

Testing EMP via a POC is the best way to experience gains in utilization and hence, cost savings in your specific environment.

How does Platform9 work with us to enable EMP in our environment?
Once your POC is successfully complete and you validate the resulting cost savings, our team will work hand-in-hand with your teams to implement EMP in production. They will partner with you to assess your environment, evaluate savings potential, plan deployment, and ensure you extract maximum value from EMP. Consider them an extension of your team.
How does EMP handle security and access controls?
EMP adheres to strict zero-trust principles and integrates with your native AWS IAM policies and permissions.
What Kubernetes expertise is required to run EMP?
Any Kubernetes administrator can implement EMP. While implementing EMP does not require deep Kubernetes expertise, a basic understanding and knowledge of Kubernetes concepts and an in-depth understanding of your existing EKS environment are required.
Does EMP address cluster sprawl?
EMP does not directly address the cluster sprawl problem, as it does not provide tooling to reduce the number of your EKS clusters or to manage those clusters. However, by improving your overall cluster utilization, EMP allows you to significantly consolidate your overall resource footprint.
What support does Platform9 provide?
Your success is ensured by our 24×7 support, professional services, and solution engineers. Our support team consists of CKA certified experts with proven track record of excellence in managing thousands of Kubernetes clusters, and has received 100% customer satisfaction ratings four years in a row. 
I have more questions!
Reach out anytime at contact-emp@platform9.com. We are happy to answer your questions.

Ready to take action?

Meet with our founders (CTO and VP of Product) who built this product and solution experts to jointly explore the following areas:
  • Your current EKS infrastructure footprint, use cases, and workload characteristics.
  • Your organization’s Kubernetes efficiency goals.
  • Your EKS cluster CPU and memory utilization metrics.
  • How EMP can be used in your environment to achieve your desired outcomes, with a deeper dive into technical considerations such as networking, storage, performance, etc.
  • See the EMP product in action, including integration with EKS, cost-saving, and utilization dashboards.

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