AWS, Cloud Computing

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Exploring the Differences Between Amazon ECS and Amazon EC2


In the ever-expanding landscape of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) stands out as a powerhouse, offering myriad services to meet diverse application deployment needs. Among these services, Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) and Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) are pivotal in supporting different approaches to deploying and managing applications.


Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides diverse cloud computing solutions tailored to enterprise requirements. Its offerings include the Amazon Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Deciding between these two services can pose a challenge, given their divergent focuses on virtualization and containerization management.

Organizations can leverage Amazon ECS for rapid deployment and streamlined management of containerized applications, all while sidestepping concerns about infrastructure overheads. Unlike Amazon EC2, Docker containers aren’t mandatory for Amazon ECS, underscoring its adaptability. However, this convenience is balanced by heightened administrative demands.

AWS Fargate is Amazon EC2’s serverless counterpart, offering automated resource provisioning. Conversely, Amazon EC2 furnishes users with granular control over instances and clusters, even at a premium price point.

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Key Differences Between Amazon ECS and Amazon EC2


Scaling and Management

The primary distinction lies in how Amazon EC2 and Amazon ECS handle scalability and resource management.

Amazon EC2 offers a managed virtual machine (VM) service, allowing users to deploy preconfigured instances that automatically scale up or down in response to demand.

Amazon ECS streamlines deploying and scaling Docker containerized applications by eliminating the burden of infrastructure management. As a fully managed container orchestration service, Amazon ECS seamlessly handles the complexities of container deployment. By orchestrating clusters of container instances, Amazon ECS facilitates horizontal scaling, distributing workloads across multiple instances to enhance service availability.

Scaling Vertically vs. Horizontally

Horizontal scaling entails augmenting the number of nodes, while vertical scaling involves enhancing the capabilities of existing machines.

  • Vertical Scaling: This entails boosting the computing prowess of an already existing instance or node. In controlling a Docker container cluster, a node orchestrates a cluster of containers, facilitating vertical scaling by accommodating additional containers into the cluster.
  • Horizontal Scaling: This method does not amplify the computing power of current instances or nodes. Instead, it generates a fresh instance and redistributes workloads evenly across the cluster of instances.

Known Facts on Amazon ECS Vs Amazon EC2

  1. Amazon EC2 instances are priced per second or per hour, offering pay-as-you-go pricing and eliminating the need for upfront expenses.
  2. Amazon’s Elastic Container Service (ECS) simplifies the management of Docker container applications, allowing companies to deploy containerized applications swiftly without the overhead of infrastructure management. Amazon EC2 provides scalable virtual machine instances with auto-scaling capabilities, while Amazon ECS facilitates the creation of managed Docker container clusters.
  3. Organizations can leverage Amazon ECS to scale web applications, perform batch processing, and operate services in hybrid environments to deliver enhanced user experiences.
  4. Amazon EC2 offers versatility by supporting various operating systems and hardware configurations without relying on Docker containers.
  5. Vertical scaling increases computing power within an existing instance or node, while horizontal scaling introduces complexity by distributing service dependencies across multiple instances.


In conclusion, when deciding between Amazon ECS and Amazon EC2 for your workloads on AWS, it’s essential to consider factors such as scalability, management complexity, and containerization requirements. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your organization’s specific needs, preferences, and expertise. Evaluating factors such as workload characteristics, operational overhead, and long-term growth plans will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Amazon ECS or Amazon EC2 and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. What is the primary difference between Amazon ECS and Amazon EC2?

ANS: – Amazon ECS is a fully managed container orchestration service designed to deploy and manage containerized applications. At the same time, Amazon EC2 provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud through virtual servers (instances). It is more suitable for traditional applications or those requiring full control over the underlying infrastructure.

2. How do Amazon ECS and Amazon EC2 handle application deployment differently?

ANS: – Amazon ECS manages Docker containers, simplifying the deployment and scaling of containerized applications. In contrast, Amazon EC2 allows users to deploy applications directly onto virtual machine instances, providing more flexibility but requiring users to manage the infrastructure themselves.

3. Which service is more suitable for microservices architectures?

ANS: – Amazon ECS is well-suited for microservices architectures due to its native containerization and service-oriented architecture support, making it easier to manage and scale individual components independently. Amazon EC2 can also be used for microservices but requires more manual configuration and management.

WRITTEN BY Sridhar Andavarapu

Sridhar works as a Research Associate at CloudThat. He is highly skilled in both frontend and backend with good practical knowledge of various skills like Python, Azure Services, AWS Services, and ReactJS. Sridhar is interested in sharing his knowledge with others for improving their skills too.



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