Containers on AWS: How to choose between ECS and EKS

At the 2017 re: Invent conference, AWS wanted to meet the needs of Kubernetes users by announcing EKS (Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes), a managed container orchestration engine service that has become the default standard today.

This is, however, AWS ‘first foray into container management. Long before EKS, the No. 1 Cloud already supported this technology through Elastic Container Service (ECS). With two different orchestrators, the community of container users is now wondering about the choice to make. What are the differences between EKS and ECS? And what are the use cases for each of these two services?


Amazon ECS is a fully managed and scalable container platform. This service integrates with other AWS cloud services, such as CloudFormation for deployment management, as well as many other open source tools.

For its part, Amazon EKS is a container platform that sits on Kubernetes . The service provides three primary instances that operate on three Availability Zones. This ensures high availability as well as a form of resiliency. EKS runs on an upstream version of Kubernetes; you can thus connect to kubectl in the same way as if you were using your own Kubernetes engine .

What is your strategy

Your choice between these two services should depend on your overall container strategy. If you want to support different environments for your containers , EKS is a more viable choice. Developers have the ability to run EKS on-premise or in another cloud, such as Google for example, while ECS is a proprietary service – so it’s all about AWS . However, beware: the flexibility and compatibility of EKS have a cost. Kubernetes is not an AWS native service, so you do not have to do it yourself if you want to integrate with other AWS services.

Once the benefits of EKS have been mastered, it is useful to compare this service with ECS. If you are already working with AWS as a supplier of Iaas , chances are you are enjoying ECS. The scalability of ECS is its greatest strength. There you can run much larger workloads than EKS. Even more importantly, connecting ECS ​​to other AWS services is much easier. If you are already an AWS user, ECS will be a more natural option.

Between ECS and EKS, the choice is a matter of strategy rather than technology. It should be assessed whether your project involves moving your containers out of AWS or not, and the level of security needed to perform this type of deployment. It is not a matter of forgetting either governance or data management.

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