If you are looking for a multitude of container orchestration offerings, AWS provides best-in-class services for managing and deploying containers, 3 among them being Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Amazon Elastic Compute (ECS) & Fargate.
Choosing one between the three services is a hard decision to make even though they look all the more similar on paper.
In this blog, we delve into each of these services to guide you make the right choice that suits your organization’s requirements.
Basic Comparisons: ECS vs EKS vs Fargate
To study the differences between the 3 services, you need to have a basic understanding of how container services are organized in AWS.
The container management tools are classified into 3 categories by Amazon: Registry, Orchestration & Compute.
- Container images are stored, managed and deployed in registry services. Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) falls under this category.
- Orchestration services are for you to manage where and when your containers run. Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS and Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA) fall in this category.
- Compute fuel your containers. AWS provides three of these in AWS Fargate, Amazon EC2 and AWS App Runner.
Based on the classifications made, it’s only fair to directly compare Amazon ECS and EKS, because Fargate is a unique service that could work with either of the two. Organizations must be thinking along the lines of ECS with Fargate or EKS with Fargate.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is Amazon’s Kubernetes as a solution that runs Kubernetes applications in AWS or on-premise.
Kubernetes is the most preferred tool in the DevOps community. Although it is feasible to run your Kubernetes applications on your own data center, the tool is at its efficient best when it’s run on the cloud. AWS is naturally the leading candidate among CSPs. Almost 80% of Kubernetes applications run on AWS.
Running Kubernetes on cloud involves a lot of overhead. One of the major contributing factors is that Kubernetes is extremely difficult to manage and requires a high level of operational excellence.
Amazon has recognized this challenge and introduced Amazon EKS, which is basically Kubernetes run and maintained by Amazon.
With EKS, all you have to do is simply outsource the boring and difficult parts of maintaining Kubernetes.
Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) is a container scheduling and orchestration system built from the scratch by the AWS team. Amazon ECS allows you to build and manage your cloud applications rather than focusing on your infrastructure.
Amazon takes full ownership of having to install, operate, and scale your own cluster management infrastructure.
Amazon Fargate for ECS vs EKS: Which works better?
AWS Fargate is a serverless, pay-as-you-go compute engine that is compatible with both Amazon ECS and EKS. Although both the services manage how your containers perform, you still need a compute layer.
For instance, as mentioned earlier, if you are running Kubernetes, the onus is on you to maintain and manage your cloud environment. However, if you switch to EKS, you will be relieved of some responsibilities. Businesses still need to configure their Kubernetes.
If you are using just ECS or EKS, your compute must be visible to you and managing it might be a tall ask, depending on your goals.
However, with the introduction of Fargate, Amazon takes care of all the underlying compute. Businesses can take a back seat and all you have to do is manage how Kubernetes is configured or your Docker containers are configured when it comes to ECS.
Kubernetes offers maximum configurability and effort in terms of control and overhead as far as a DevOps manager is concerned. EKS offers reduced effort for maintaining Kubernetes while ECS does the same for maintaining Docker containers. That said, both require the same effort for maintaining compute infrastructure.
EKS on Fargate offers minimum effort to maintain Kubernetes and the underlying infrastructure, while ECS on Fargate offers minimum effort to maintain both Docker and the underlying infrastructure.
With Docker containers in the cloud becoming less popular, more mainstream services like Kubernetes is gaining traction. Kubernetes management is now a reality and it’s imperative to put all your money on EKS on Fargate.
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