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AWS ECS: A Game-Changer for Application Deployment

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses are constantly seeking efficient and scalable solutions for deploying and managing their applications. 

One such solution that has gained immense popularity is Amazon Web Services Elastic Container Service (AWS ECS) which is a fully managed container orchestration service that allows you to run, scale, and manage containerized applications with ease.  In this blog, we will delve into the reasons why AWS ECS can be a game-changer for application deployment.

Container-based computing offers portability, consistency, scalability, security, and efficiency advantages, making it an attractive choice for modern application development and deployment. It also simplifies the packaging, deployment, and management of applications while ensuring consistent behavior across different environments and streamlining the collaboration between development and operations teams.

Different types of AWS Container Services: 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides several container services that cater to different aspects of containerization and orchestration. Here are some of the key container services offered by AWS:

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS): Amazon EKS is a managed Kubernetes service that simplifies the deployment, scaling, and management of Kubernetes clusters. It eliminates the need for manual cluster setup and provides integration with other AWS services. EKS allows you to run Kubernetes workloads with high availability and scalability, while AWS manages the underlying infrastructure.

AWS App Runner: AWS Runner automatically builds, deploys, and scales applications from source code or container images. It also simplifies containerized application deployment, supports multiple container image formats, and provides built-in load balancing and scaling capabilities.

Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS): Amazon ECS simplifies the deployment and management of containers, handles task scheduling, and integrates with other AWS services like Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon VPC, and AWS IAM. It also enables you to run containers on a scalable cluster of EC2 instances or AWS Fargate. 

Traditional Kubernetes: Refers to the open-source container orchestration platform known as Kubernetes (also known as K8s) which automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.

Why Use AWS ECS?

Choosing the right container orchestration platform depends on various factors, including your specific use case, requirements, familiarity with the technology, and integration with existing infrastructure. While Kubernetes is a popular and widely adopted container orchestration platform, Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) offers several advantages that make it a preferred choice for certain scenarios.

  1. Seamless Integration with AWS Ecosystem: If your infrastructure or application stack is primarily based on AWS services, using ECS can provide seamless integration and enhanced compatibility. ECS integrates well with other AWS services like Elastic Load Balancing, AWS IAM, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon VPC, and AWS Fargate. This tight integration simplifies configuration, deployment, and management processes within the AWS ecosystem.
  2. Managed Service: Amazon ECS is a fully managed service, which means AWS handles the underlying infrastructure and management tasks. You don’t need to worry about managing the control plane, scaling the cluster, or performing software upgrades. AWS takes care of these aspects, allowing you to focus on deploying and managing your containers.
  3. Simplicity and Ease of Use: ECS offers a simpler and more straightforward setup and configuration compared to the complexity of setting up a Kubernetes cluster. The ECS management console provides a user-friendly interface for managing tasks, services, and container instances. This simplicity can be advantageous for teams with limited Kubernetes expertise or those seeking a quicker start with container orchestration.
  4. Native Integration with AWS Fargate: AWS Fargate is a serverless compute engine for containers that work seamlessly with ECS. Fargate abstracts away the underlying infrastructure, allowing you to run containers without managing EC2 instances. By combining ECS with Fargate, you can focus solely on deploying and scaling containers, without worrying about server provisioning, capacity planning, or cluster management.
  5. Predictable Pricing Model: AWS ECS offers a simple and predictable pricing model. You pay for the compute resources utilized by your tasks or services, along with any associated AWS resources (like load balancers or storage). The pricing is transparent, making it easier to estimate and optimize costs based on your specific workload requirements.
  6. Robust Networking Capabilities: ECS provides flexible networking options, including integration with Amazon VPC, which enables you to define custom networking configurations and securely connect containers to other AWS resources. ECS supports both bridge networking and host networking modes, allowing you to choose the networking mode that best suits your application’s needs.
  7. Ecosystem and Community Support: While Kubernetes has a vast ecosystem and community, Amazon ECS has its own growing ecosystem within the AWS community. You can find official AWS ECS documentation, reference architectures, and community-driven resources specific to ECS. If you are already utilizing other AWS services extensively, ECS may provide a more cohesive and integrated experience.

How to deploy an ECS application?

Requirements: AWS Account & Docker

  1. Install Docker that is compatible with your OS and make a Dockerfile to dockerize your application.
  2. Create an AWS user 
  • Open IAM in your AWS account
  • Create a user with administrator permission.
  • Download the .csv file where you can see the access key and secret key which we will require in the next step.
  1. Install AWS CLI compatible with your OS. 

Type aws configure and put the access key and secret key that we got from AWS.

Amazon Elastic Container Registry

Amazon provides a service called ECR ( Elastic Container Registry ) where the Docker container images can be easily stored, shared, and managed in a private registry within AWS.

  1. Open your AWS console and search for Elastic Container Registry and open it.
  1. Click on ‘Repositories’ in the left sidebar and then click on the ‘Create Repository’ option on the right to create a new repository.
  1. Open the repository and click on ‘View push commands’ and follow the instructions step by step to build your image and push it to the repository.

Once the image is pushed you will be able to see your image in the repository

Amazon Elastic Cluster Service

Amazon ECS ( Elastic Cluster Service ) allows you to run and manage Docker containers at scale in a highly available and secure manner. It simplifies the deployment and management of containerized applications by handling tasks such as provisioning, scaling, and load balancing.

How to Create Cluster?

  1. Open ECS from the AWS console and click on clusters on your left sidebar.
  1. Now, click on ‘Create Cluster’ to create your first cluster. Provide a name for your cluster and select the default VPC from the VPC options. Scroll down and click on ‘Create’ to proceed.

How to Create task definition?

  1. In the same dashboard, you will be able to see ‘Task Definition’ in the left sidebar. Click on it.
  1. Now, click on “Create new task definition” and create your task definition. Start by providing a name for your task definition. Then, fill in the details for your container. First, provide a name for your container, and then enter the image URI obtained from the repository where you stored your image in the previous task. Configure the rest of your container settings as required. Once done, click on “Next”.
  1. In the next tab, you can configure the environment, storage, monitoring, and tags. If you want to modify anything, you can do so; otherwise, you can click on “Next.” Now, review your settings once if everything is fine, click on “Create”.

How to Configure your service?

  1. Open the cluster that you created initially. There, you will find a tab named ‘Services’ at the bottom. Click on it to access the services associated with the cluster.
  1. Click on Create to create your service.
  1. Scroll down to Deployment Configurations and select the task definition that you created earlier from the drop-down menu. Next, provide a service name in the field below.
  1. Next click on create.
  1. Now your service is created and it will start deploying the task.
  1. Once the deployment is complete, you will be able to see that the deployments and tasks bar will turn green, indicating that your task has run successfully.
  1. Now, click on the “Tasks” option next to “Services” and select the task that is currently running.
  1. After opening the task, you will be able to see a public IP on your right under the configuration. Copy the IP, or you can click on the “Open Address” option next to it to view your application.

Conclusion:

AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) is a versatile container orchestration platform that empowers businesses to efficiently manage and scale their containerized applications. With enhanced scalability, simplified orchestration, seamless integration with the AWS ecosystem, flexible launch types, cost efficiency, and streamlined CI/CD processes, ECS offers a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking agility, reliability, and cost optimization. By harnessing the power of AWS ECS, organizations can focus on innovation and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of containerized applications.

About the author:

Manoj is a Solution Architect at Mantra Labs, currently working on developing platforms for making Developer, DevOps, and SRE life better and making them more productive.

Also Read: Why Use Next.JS?

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