Containers and serverless computing are great technologies for application deployment in AWS. They help DevOps teams to deploy applications faster considering the cost-effectiveness. The features of containers and serverless architectures are the same in some aspects. Containers work better for some use cases and in some use cases, serverless is suitable.
When deploying containers on AWS the control plane is your entry point to running your application. It is the interface to launch an application, to know the status of an application, or to shut down the application. AWS has two control planes to choose between:
Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS)
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)
Let us understand each one of them in detail.
Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS):
AWS Elastic Container Service is a scalable container orchestration platform by AWS. It is used to manage containers in a cluster. ECS is a fully managed, highly available, highly scalable container control plane.
You can use either ECS with EC2 instances or AWS Fargate. AWS Fargate is a serverless architecture.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS):
EKS is an AWS service that provides and manages a Kubernetes control plane; it is more accessible; with three masters across three availability zones.
To run the application, EKS establishes the control plane and Kubernetes API in your AWS infrastructure.
In EKS, workloads can be deployed using native Kubernetes tools like kubectl, Kubernetes Dashboard, Helm, and Terraform.
In EKS, no need to install, operate and maintain the Kubernetes control plane.
EKS can use tools and plugins developed by the Kubernetes open-source community.
EKS automates load distribution and parallel processing.
AWS Fargate is a service for running containers without requiring managing the underlying infrastructure. control-plane will command Fargate to run a container and Fargate takes care of all the details. For the tasks that will run on demand or by a schedule and no need for a dedicated EC2 instance. With Fargate one can pay only when the task is running.
AWS Fargate reduces the users to manage the EC2 instances. In fact. Fargate itself will act as compute engine. Fargate lets users focus on elements like designing and constructing the application instead of managing the infrastructure that runs them. With Fargate launch type package your application in containers, specify the memory and CPU requirements, define IAM policies & launch your application.
Similarities between ECS & EKS:
ECS & EKS have the same layer of functionality
EKS and ECS have a layer of concept for containers called deployments (EKS) or tasks (ECS) and have similar features. Both ECS and EKS have a concept called cluster that is a combination of all the working components.
ECS & EKS both use the same compute platform of AWS
For running containers with ECS and EKS, there are many options available for computing in AWS :
a. EC2 instances- they are virtual servers in Elastic cloud compute service from amazon web service. Which offers more choices for computing
b. AWS Fargate: This service from AWS is used for serverless applications.
Operating or Monitoring is not required in both services
These services reduce the effort in operating services and allow users to focus on applications. They are reliable and highly available. When updating to new releases the control plane and other components will have zero downtime.
ECS & EKS have the same security options
All container services in AWS will have the same security services like having proper IAM roles and policies and services that can be used by a particular user and a group with necessary permissions without affecting applications in the control plane from unknown users. In ECS & EKS you can give access to a specific user for specific tasks and workloads.
Computing in ECS:
ECS with EC2 instances:
In this type, containers are deployed to EC2 instances (VMs) which are created for the cluster. ECS manages tasks that are part of the task definition.
In this type, users will have control over the AWS EC2 instance used.
Spot instances can be used to reduce cloud costs by up to 90%.
Responsibility for security patches, network security of the instances, and scalability in the cluster will be on users.
ECS with AWS Fargate:
In this type, AWS will take care of EC2 instances or servers. Users have to choose the CPU and memory then the containers will be deployed there.
No servers to manage.
AWS manages container availability and scalability. Just have to select the right CPU and memory.
ECS + Fargate supports only one networking mode which is AWS VPC which limits the control over the networking layer.
The Containers as a Service (CAAS) platform has gathered massive attention among developers in this era. For those of you interested, here is a complete guide for Containers-as-a-Service.
The first thing is to choose how to run containers on AWS by choosing the control plane, and then pick how the containers to run below that control plane. ECS presents a first-class experience for containers that are working with other AWS services. EKS presents a uniform experience between Kubernetes that you are running on-premises and Kubernetes that you are running in AWS.
When choosing the container execution strategy consider this:
Managing your own EC2 instances gives you the most flexibility and control over configuration and price. AWS Fargate gives you easy container execution without any management required. If you have any queries regarding containers on AWS, EKS, or ECS, you can drop them in the below comment section, and I will get back to you at the earliest possibility.
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