The truth behind Amazon ECS vs EKS

Amazon Web Services have a wide range of services and its catalog is unmatchable at this point. They have a great understanding of the cloud market and keep adding new services according to the new trends. Nowadays, there has been a huge emphasis on scaling apps on the cloud. Organizations want this to happen quickly but also they don’t want to spend a ton on the resources.

For the scaling up of apps, Containers are widely used because of their capabilities of packing your application code, configuration, and dependencies into a single object, and for this they have a standardized way. One of the biggest advantages of using Containers is that it virtualizes at the operating system level instead of the hardware stack. This gives you the flexibility to run a large number of containers on the OS kernel.

But the deployment of so many containers also calls for their management which in technical terms is called container orchestration. Kubernetes has been the industry standard for container orchestration but Amazon has also built its own container orchestration service called Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS). But seeing the benefits of Kubernetes, they announced a service that supports it and is called Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).

But which one of the container orchestration services you should use can be a task because they have their own capabilities and advantages. So in this article, we will have a look at these services and decide which one suits which workload best.

The reality of Amazon ECS vs EKS

What can you deploy ECS and EKS?

Amazon ECS being a home-grown product is compatible with only AWS products. It works on Docker containers and gives you the ability to scale apps on AWS. It had deep integration with AWS services like Elastic Load Balancing, AWS IAM, AWS VPC, and many such services. AWS Fargate which gives you the option to deploy containers with provisioning servers is also integrated into Amazon ECS.

Source: AWS

Amazon EKS as the name suggests leverages Kubernetes for the management and deployment of containerized applications on AWS. Since Kubernetes is an open-source tool, EKS is capable of orchestrating any applications that are managed by any standard Kubernetes environment. So unlike ECS, EKS can be used on multiple cloud platforms and this makes it more versatile.

Source: AWS

What are the security benefits of ECS and EKS?

ECS has its docker container images stored in Elastic Container Registry (ECR) provided by AWS which is a service for storing docker images. The way it works is whenever a container spins it takes it image out of ECR securely. However, ECS is deeply associated with IAM, this gives the users the ability to handle their containers precisely. They can grant permissions to containers and decide which containers can access a particular service and which cannot.

Source: AWS

EKS just like ECS takes in use Elastic Container Registry for docker images. EKS doesn’t have the IAM integration but there are some add-ons like KIAM which can control the containers. EKS has the advantage of being able to run more containers per EC2 worker so this can be useful for you.

Source: AWS

What is the pricing of ECS and EKS?

When you take in use ECS, you pay for the AWS resources that you are using. There are many AWS services that you may use when you deploy an application using Docker containers, so AWS just charges you for them and you won’t be charged for leveraging ECS. This can be seen as an advantage for ECS.

When you use EKS, you will have to pay the same charges for using AWS services that you will use while taking in use ECS. But with EKS, you have to pay an additional charge of $0.20 per hour for each EKS cluster. This brings the monthly cost of using a single EKS cluster to $144. However, EKS has an advantage over ECS that you can run multiple applications on a single EKS cluster.

What should you choose?

Now this is where you have to take into consideration your whole cloud infrastructure. If your company works solely on Amazon Web Services and have no plans of using the services of any other cloud provider, then ECS will be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you use the services of multiple cloud service providers, a mixture of both ECS and EKS would work the best for you. You have to figure out which applications will be best suited for ECS and which will be for EKS.

Can’t make a decision?

At Opslyft we understand your confusion. Making a decision about deploying such an important service for your applications is a tough one but with a little guidance you can choose the best option for you. We can help you but understanding your whole infrastructure and then your business needs. We take pride in our Cost360 platform that helps optimize the infrastructure of organizations and ultimately help them cut cloud costs.

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