How to Manage Kubernetes: AWS EKS vs. ECS vs. Fargate - ByteScout
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How to Manage Kubernetes: AWS EKS vs. ECS vs. Fargate

Cloud technology has always been the number one choice for businesses that want to scale their business. At the core, we have containers. They are not new but have changed how enterprises scale their solutions.

Amazon Web Services(AWS) is a well-known cloud service solution provider. They offer some exciting and valuable services for container management. These services include

  • Amazon Elastic Compute(ECS)
  • Elastic Kubernetes Service(EKS)
  • Fargate

As a business, it is critical to know the difference between the three. This will let you make the proper choice. In this article, we will make a clear difference between these three services.

So, let’s get started:

  1. ECS vs. EKS vs. Fargate
  2. What is Amazon ECS?
  3. What is Amazon EKS?
  4. When to Use Amazon EKS and ECS? EKS vs ECS
  5. Amazon Fargate: Another Player: What is it? Fargate on ECS or EKS?
  6. Using Fargate on EKS and ECS? Trade-offs?
  7. Conclusion

Manage Kubernetes AWS EKS vs. ECS vs. Fargate

ECS vs. EKS vs. Fargate

Before we jump into the comparison, it is vital to understand the cloud terminology differentiating the services. If you have never used AWS or its container services, this is a good start.

Container management tools can be categorized into Registry services, Orchestration services, and Compute services. The registry services allow you to manage and store container images. Orchestration services, on the other, let you manage when and where you can run containers. Both ECS and EKS fall under orchestration services. However, Fargate falls under the Compute Services. These compute services powers containers.

All of these mean that it is not theoretically possible to compare ECS vs EKS vs Fargate. However, we need to modify our comparison from ECS + Fargate vs. EKS + Fargate.

What is Amazon ECS?

AWS team wanted to build their own orchestration and scheduling system, and that’s where Amazon Elastic Container Service(ECS) comes in. With ECS, you can fully manage container orchestration without the need to look for other solutions. This way, you can focus on your application management and building.

Amazon ECS completely automates cluster management infrastructure. This means that you do not have to install, scale or operate your cluster.

What is Amazon EKS?

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service(EKS) is a specialized compute service for Kubernetes. It lets you manage the Kubernetes applications within the AWS ecosystem.

But, what is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is a popular DevOps tool that lets you manage your cloud, including provisioning, managing, and maintaining. It works best within the cloud environment, and that’s why AWS is the obvious solution if you aim to use it. Using Kubernetes with AWS also brings other benefits, including easy managing the Kubernetes environment. In reality, Kubernetes is really hard to manage and operate due to the difficulty associated with it.

In short, you can use Amazon EKS to fully utilize Kubernetes without the need to manage it yourself. After all, it manages all the difficult or boring parts and difficult parts so that you can build up your applications using Kubernetes.

When to Use Amazon EKS and ECS? EKS vs ECS

When you take both of them into consideration, then you need to think about use-cases. This means if you are already invested in the Amazon ecosystem, then ECS is the way to go. Using ECS makes it easy for you to create an event-driven system that works well with other Amazon components and services, including SNS or Amazon Event Bridge.

Another benefit of using ECS is that you get more configuration options compared to EKS. By using ECS, you are free to transfer data seamlessly across applications using Lambda functions. In short, choose Amazon Elastic Container Service(EKS) if you want to use the AWS ecosystem. After all, you get the option to use other amazing AWS platform services, including the likes of DynamoDB, SQS, S3, SNS, and more.

But, what about EKS? When should you use it?

EKS is a great pick if you aim to separately manage your applications’ different aspects, including logic and systems. EKS gives you the necessary portability that you may need over your environment. This means you don’t have to worry about cloud lock-in as you have full control over the different aspects of your business application. If some dispute occurs, you can simply transfer your containers to a different cloud service provider.

EKS also excels at providing an efficient and cost-effective solution. It is also well-architectured, providing you the necessary means to scale your application.

Amazon Fargate: Another Player: What is it? Fargate on ECS or EKS?

Now comes Fargate. As already mentioned, it is a compute service. This means that it can work well with both EKS and ECS. As EKS and ECS have the responsibility to manage the containers run. However, you still need a compute layer to manage the containers.

EKS simplifies how you manage Kubernetes compared to native Kubernetes. With EKS, Amazon simplifies the Kubernetes infrastructure and also simplifies the Kubernetes configuration.

Fargate enables you to manage your compute in both EKS and ECS cases. Without Fargate, you may have to do a lot of work yourself. Technically, Fargate manages the underlying compute work. All you need to do is configure your containers.

Using Fargate on EKS and ECS? Trade-offs?

Using Fargate with ECS or EKS is not always beneficial. You surely save a lot of time, but there are some limitations that come with it. Compared to the native approach, you are going to lose a lot of features. There is also an impact of cost.

When it comes to limited features, you lose up advanced features and configurability. For instance, if you are working with EKS and Fargate, you will not be able to load workloads including Privileged pods and Daemonsets. The same applies with ECS on Fargate, as you will not be able to use dnsServers, disableNetworking, extraHosts, and so on. If you want to know more about the features you cannot use, you can check AWS documentation on the full list.

Cost-wise, using Fargate with ECS or EKS increases your cost for computing. However, you can control the cost by strategically configuring your containers.


AWS is one of the premier cloud services. It gives you access to excellent tools and services that let you effectively manage your applications on the cloud. The choice of AWS EKS or ECS completely depends on your requirement. Fargate is a compute service that lets you manage your containers without the need to go deep into configuration. However, Fargate can be costly compared to the native approach.

The best approach is to understand the cost associated with each service and optimize them accordingly. In short, a more granular approach is always better, but using infrastructure can obscure the true cost of these services.


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