Case study


AWS ECS vs. EKS: Breaking Down the Pros and Cons

In this article, you will learn:

Are you exploring container management solutions for your applications? AWS has two widely used options: Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). These services offer scalable and effective methods for deploying and overseeing containers within the AWS Cloud. Our team at StormIT knows that customers often struggle to decide which one to choose and why.

In this article, we will analyse the advantages and disadvantages of AWS ECS and EKS, assisting you to make a well-informed choice regarding the service that aligns best with your requirements.

What is AWS ECS?

AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) is a fully managed container orchestration service that allows you to easily run and scale containerised applications on AWS.

ECS eliminates the need to manage the underlying infrastructure, making it easier for developers to focus on building their applications. With ECS, you can use either the EC2 launch type, which leverages EC2 instances to run containers, or the Fargate launch type, which provides serverless computing for containers.

Key features and pros of AWS ECS include:

  • Simple to use: Users have fewer decisions to make regarding computer, network, and security configurations, while still enjoying its capabilities.
  • Seamless integration with other AWS services: ECS integrates well with other AWS services such as Elastic Load Balancing, Identity and Access Management (IAM), CloudWatch, and more, allowing you to build highly scalable and reliable applications.
  • Flexible scaling options: ECS provides auto-scaling capabilities, allowing you to automatically scale your applications based on demand. You can configure scaling policies to adjust the number of tasks or services running in your ECS cluster.


Things that can be thought of as cons:

  • Vendor lock-in: Works exclusively only with AWS. When you start using it, it’s difficult to take the architecture away from this service. This also means that it will not work in a multi-cloud environment.
  • Lack of full control: While ECS provides a managed service for container orchestration, it may limit your control over certain functions of the infrastructure. This limitation can be a concern if you require deep control over your containers or have specific infrastructure requirements.

What is AWS EKS?

AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is a managed Kubernetes service that makes it easy to run Kubernetes on AWS without the need to manage the Kubernetes control plane. EKS provides a fully compatible and highly available Kubernetes control plane, allowing you to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications using Kubernetes.

Key features and advantages of AWS EKS include:

  • Kubernetes ecosystem: EKS provides access to the Kubernetes ecosystem, including a range of tools, plugins, and integrations. This allows you to leverage existing Kubernetes expertise.
  • High availability and scalability: EKS automatically manages the Kubernetes control plane, ensuring high availability and scalability for your applications. EKS clusters can span multiple availability zones, providing fault tolerance and enabling you to scale your applications easily.
  • Enhanced security and compliance: EKS integrates with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for access control, allowing you to enforce security best practices.


Things that can be thought of as cons:

  • Complexity: Setting up and managing an EKS cluster can be complex, especially if you are new to Kubernetes or AWS services. EKS requires a solid understanding of Kubernetes concepts, networking, and AWS-specific integrations. The learning curve can be steep, particularly for beginners.
  • Operational overhead: While EKS abstracts away much of the underlying infrastructure management, you are still responsible for maintaining and operating the worker nodes in your cluster. This includes tasks such as patching, scaling, and monitoring the nodes, which adds operational overhead to your team.

Difference between ECS and EKS

When comparing AWS ECS and EKS, there are several key differences to consider:

  • Architecture: ECS uses its own container orchestration engine, while EKS leverages the popular Kubernetes platform. If you are already familiar with Kubernetes or have specific requirements that can be better addressed with Kubernetes features, EKS might be the better choice.
  • Scalability: Both ECS and EKS offer scalability options, but ECS provides more flexibility in terms of scaling containers and services. With ECS, you can define auto-scaling policies at the task or service level, allowing you to fine-tune the scaling behaviour.
  • Pricing: The pricing models for ECS and EKS differ slightly. ECS pricing is based on the underlying EC2 instances or Fargate tasks you use, while EKS pricing includes a fee ($0.10 per hour for a cluster, $72 per month) for the Kubernetes control plane. It's important to consider your workload requirements.
  • Efficiency: While both ECS and EKS provide efficient ways to manage containers, EKS offers a broader range of features and integrations due to its compatibility with the Kubernetes ecosystem. If you require specific Kubernetes features or need to integrate with third-party tools or services, EKS might be the better choice.

Confused about managing your containerized applications in AWS? Let StormIT's experts help. We have real-world experience and can provide the perfect architecture using managed cloud services.

Managed cloud services

ECS and EKS use cases

The choice between AWS ECS and EKS depends on your specific use case and requirements. Here are some common use cases where each service excels:

AWS ECS use cases:

  • Microservices architecture: ECS is well-suited to deploying microservices-based applications. Its flexible scaling options and seamless integration with other AWS services make it a popular choice for building scalable and resilient microservices architectures.
  • Monolithic application migration: If you have an existing monolithic application and want to migrate it to a containerized environment, ECS provides an easy transition path. You can containerize individual components of your application and deploy them on ECS gradually.

ECS simple architecture

AWS EKS use cases:

  • Kubernetes expertise: If you already have experience with Kubernetes or want to take advantage of the Kubernetes ecosystem, EKS is a natural choice. EKS provides a managed Kubernetes control plane, allowing you to focus on deploying and managing your applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
  • Multi-cloud deployments: EKS supports multi-region and multi-cloud deployments, allowing you to run Kubernetes clusters across different AWS regions or even on other cloud providers. This flexibility is valuable if you have specific requirements for distributed or hybrid cloud architectures.

EKS simple architecture


In conclusion, both AWS ECS and EKS offer powerful container management solutions, but they differ in terms of architecture, scalability options, pricing, and integrations.

When choosing between ECS and EKS, consider your specific use case, familiarity with Kubernetes, scalability requirements, and budget. ECS provides a seamless and cost-effective solution for running containerized applications on AWS, while EKS offers the power and flexibility of Kubernetes with the added benefits of managed services.

By breaking down the pros and cons of AWS ECS and EKS, we hope this article has provided valuable insights to help you make an informed choice. Whether you choose ECS or EKS, AWS offers robust container management solutions that can scale with your business needs and simplify the deployment of containerized applications in the cloud.

Evaluate your needs carefully to make the best decision for your containerized applications in the AWS ecosystem or let the experts at StormIT help you with your decision. We have real-world experience with both solutions and can also take responsibility for providing such architecture with managed cloud services.

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