The Rise of Containers: Comparing Amazon ECS and Google Kubernetes by@ruchitavarma

The Rise of Containers: Comparing Amazon ECS and Google Kubernetes

Kubernetes is a system that helps with the scaling, deployment, and management of containerized applications. Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) is a fully managed container orchestration service that helps to scale, deploy, and manage containers. ECS is a service that allows developers to run applications in the cloud without the need to configure an environment for the code to run in. It enables developers with AWS accounts to deploy and manage scalable applications that run on a group of servers called Clusters.
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Explore different tools & platforms for hassle-free and easy management of K8s clusters, here in this blog. Read further to know more!

The Rise of Containers

Today, it wouldn’t be wrong to consider containers and microservice-based architectures as key threads in the fabric of next-gen tools and technologies to modernize enterprise applications. The basic concept behind the approach is to replace traditional, monolithic app development with a Microservices architecture supported by the cloud, API-based services, CI/CD pipelines, and cloud-native storage.

But how easy is the adoption of these advanced tools? Do you have the basic foundation and setup for adopting containers and is your container strategy sustainable for the long haul? These are some of the many challenges that organizations face while adopting containers.

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Container Adoption Challenges

“By 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production”, says a report published by Gartner, Inc.

The use of container strategies is proliferating in multiple IT scenarios, but it’s not a simple plug-and-play. The process gets highly complicated when it comes to executing them at scale and many organizations have only partial knowledge of doing it. 

If you’re planning to shift applications to containers and Kubernetes, you need to introspect the security and compliance implications as well. Addressing container security risks and issues later in the development life cycle can hinder the pace of cloud adoption and lead to huge losses in the end.

Fifty-four percent of containers live for five minutes or less, which is why managing containers and gaining deep insights into what actually is happening inside them is extremely challenging. Moreover, the monitoring tools and processes aren’t potent enough to provide complete visibility into these dynamic container environments. 

So, what’s the solution?

Kubernetes, yes, you guessed it right! Kubernetes is the real key to container orchestration. There are many other tools and platforms, besides Kubernetes, that can help to manage, deploy & scale containers and ECS is one of them.

Let’s talk about ECS, Kubernetes, and how our product BuildPiper makes Kubernetes- microservices application ready with Managed Kubernetes and much more!

Here, in this blog, you’ll get to know,

- What is ECS?
- What is Kubernetes?
- How can Kubernetes help?
- Limitations of ECS
- Kubernetes vs ECS
- What should one choose?

Let’s begin,

What is ECS?

Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) is a fully managed container orchestration service that helps to scale, deploy, and manage containers. It allows the developers to run applications in the cloud without the need to configure an environment for the code to run in.

It enables developers with AWS accounts to deploy and manage scalable applications that run on a group of servers called Clusters -- through application program interface (API) calls and task definitions. 

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is a system that helps with the scaling, deployment, and management of containerized applications. With the use of Kubernetes, software teams now no longer need to worry about assigning jobs to individual servers.

Instead, Kubernetes decides which server in the fleet is the right fit to handle the entire workload. In case a server fails, Kubernetes automatically moves the applications to a different, healthy server. No doubt, the technology is complicated but it is strategic too.

How Can Kubernetes Help?

Kubernetes enables the DevOps team to focus on managing and scaling the applications by acting as a middleware in between the infrastructure and applications. Kubernetes is an active community with the strong backing of major companies and institutions like the CNCF.

Besides ensuring smooth and hassle-free container management, here are a few other ways in which Kubernetes can help with better and effective handling of containers.

Fully Open Source
Kubernetes can be used both on-premise or in the cloud without any need to change the container orchestration strategy. Kubernetes is fully open source and can be redeployed without any licensing fees.

Flexibility
Kubernetes can handle requirements with complete flexibility. With Kubernetes, you have complete and granular control over how your workload can scale. This allows you to avoid vendor lock-in with ECS or any other container services when you need to make the switch to a more powerful platform.

High Availability and Scalability
Kubernetes supports and has built-in features that help with load balancing and self-healing. Autoscaling ensures that the workloads always have the right amount of computing resources available. Autoscaling automatically scales up or down the number of computing resources that are being allocated to your application based on the applications’ needs.

Most of the large enterprises and tech giants believe that Kubernetes is the first primary step to building scalable modern applications and they are adopting K8s to overcome container adoption barriers that had stopped them since long from using containers.

Spotify is one of a kind. As stated in this case study, Spotify has observed significant cost-saving values by leveraging Kubernetes benefits. The company observed 2-3x CPU utilization by using the orchestration capabilities of K8s, which resulted in better spend optimization.

Limitations of ECS

Though ECS is being widely adopted by enterprises both big and small, it has a few limitations. In fact, these are some of the benefits of Amazon ECS that can be considered to be restrictions, depending on your commitment to the AWS ecosystem.

Vendor lock-in: With Amazon ECS, the containers can only be deployed on Amazon. Moreover, ECS can only manage containers that it has created.

Limited Storage: With Amazon ECS, the external storage is limited to Amazon, including Amazon EBS.

Validated within Amazon: ECS, being a product of Amazon, is not publicly available for deployment outside Amazon.

Much of the ECS code is not publicly available: Only some of the parts of ECS, such as AWS Blox, which is a framework that helps customers build custom schedulers, are open-source from Amazon.

Kubernetes and ECS - Key Differences!

Listed below are some of the major differences between ECS and Kubernetes. Hope studying this would help you decide which container orchestration platform would be the perfect fit for your business needs. 

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Amazon ECS or Google Kubernetes- What should one choose?

Between the challenges of ‘needing a highly-skilled team’ for handling Kubernetes management to ‘vendor lock-ins & other limitations’ of ECS, what should one choose? You may want to choose a platform that not only enables Managed Kubernetes across Multi/hybrid clouds but also accelerates the entire microservices journey of an application, for which you need Kubernetes in the first place.

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