ECS Vs Kubernetes

Are you wondering which one is better – ECS or Kubernetes? Dont worry! We unlock the answer here. This blog discusses the differences between ECS and Kubernetes based on various parameters. Also, the blog will let you know when to use ECS and when to use Kubernetes precisely. By the end of the article, you will gain the competence to find the better one.

AWS ECS and Kubernetes are the two container orchestration tools increasingly adopted by companies for deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications. Though the tools serve the same purpose, they differ in many ways. Therefore, it is important to weigh down the tools precisely to find the better one.

This blog compares the features and abilities of the ECS and Kubernetes from many angles. Undeniably, it will help you to make a concrete decision on choosing the right tool. Okay! Without any further ado, let’s dive into the blog now.

Table of Contents:

What is ECS?

 Amazon ECS or Amazon Elastic Container Service is a fully managed container orchestration tool. Amazon ECS helps to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications on various platforms seamlessly.
Amazon ECS can be tightly integrated with the Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR). It allows developers to focus on developing high-performing applications without worrying about resource management. The best thing about ECS is that you can seamlessly manage containers across multi-cloud and on-premises environments.

What is Kubernetes?

 Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration tool. With Kubernetes, you can automate deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications on different platforms.

Every Kubernetes cluster has two major components: the control plane and nodes. Each Node in a cluster contains pods that host containers. Kubernetes supports the development and running of applications on containers securely.

All right! Next, we will jump into the section that compares the ECS and Kubernetes on multiple factors.

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ECS Vs. Kubernetes – What are the differences?

Many differences split the AWS ECS and Kubernetes as separate and unique tools. Let's figure it out!

Product Type

Kubernetes is an open-source tool with a robust ecosystem of tools and plugins. The user community for Kubernetes is so vast.

On the other hand, AWS ECS is not an open-source tool. Users must pay for the AWS resources that they consume. AWS ECS is offered to users in two different models, such as the AWS Fargate launch type model and AWS ECS on AWS outposts/AWS EC2 launch type


AWS ECS deploys and scales containerized applications on a larger scale. It is done by integrating with other AWS platforms, such as Amazon EBS and Amazon EC2.

On the other side, Kubernetes uses various Kubernetes cluster control plane components, such as kube-scheduler, kube-apiserver, cloud controller manager, etc., for container management. It also uses node components such as kubelet, container runtime, kube-proxy, and many add-ons.


When it comes to configuration, the AWS ECS comes with a preconfigured ecosystem. So, users need to make configurations on a minimum scale.

Unlike AWS ECS, you must make a full-fledged resource configuration in Kubernetes. It’s more time-consuming and demands much effort.

Load Balancing

AWS ECS leverages the elastic load balancing method to distribute workloads across multiple containers. For example, ECS services hosted on AWS fargate launch type model use the network load balancer and the application load balancer for balancing workloads.

On the other side, Kubernetes employs internal and external load balancing to distribute workloads.

Service Mesh

AWS ECS doesn’t have a built-in service mesh. However, it is easy to integrate ECS with external service meshes such as Linkerd and Istio.

On the contrary, Kubernetes offers a service mesh facility with a dedicated infrastructure layer. The service mesh in Kubernetes uses a control plane, sidecar proxies, and a data plane to manage workloads efficiently.


AWS ECS leverages Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for networking. It allows containers to connect with each other and with external applications.

On the flip side, Kubernetes uses Calico to enable secure and seamless communication across pods in a cluster. Calico is a robust networking solution that provides a network policy to secure applications. 

Monitoring and logging

ECS integrates with AWS Cloud Watch to monitor and log the performance of containerized applications.

On the other side, Kubernetes integrates with tools such as Grafana and Prometheus for monitoring and logging.


AWS ECS charges users only for the AWS resources that they consume. It doesn’t charge any upfront costs. ECS services are offered in two models such as the AWS Fargate model and the Amazon EC2 launch type model/Amazon ECS on AWS outposts. Each model has a different pricing option.

On the flip side, Kubernetes is a free tool. However, Kubernetes service providers like GCP, Azure, and AWS charge pricing based on various editions. For example, GCP has different pricing options for public cloud environments and on-premises environments.

Well! The comparison must have given you better clarity of the ECE and Kubernetes. Coming up is the summarized version of the comparison. Let’s take a look.

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ECS Vs. Kubernetes – Summary of differences:

This section highlights the differences between ECS and Kubernetes in the below table.




Product Type

Commercial product

Open source tool


Fully managed service. Integrates with AWS EC2 and Amazon EBS for deployment.

Performs deployment and scaling using cluster control plane components and node components.


Preconfigured. Only a minimum of manual configuration is required.

No pre-configuration. Needs a full-fledged configuration.

Load balancing

Elastic load balancing method.

Adopts internal and external load balancing methods.

Service Mesh

No built-in service mesh. But integrates with external service meshes.

Offers service mesh facility with a dedicated infrastructure layer.


Employs Amazon VPC for networking.

Employs Calico for networking.

Monitoring and Logging

Leverages AWS CloudWatch for monitoring

Integrates with Prometheus and Grafana for monitoring


Charges only for the consumed AWS resources.

Free of cost. However, Kubernetes service providers charge based on product editions.

 Pros and cons of AWS ECS:

Let’s outline the pluses and minuses of AWS ECS in the following.


  • Simplifies migrating monolithic applications into the containerized environment
  • Provides improved scaling capabilities to larger workloads.
  • Provides high availability and fault tolerance
  • Offers serverless feature with AWS Fargate
  • Integrates with other AWS services seamlessly


  • AWS ECS integration with AWS ECR is tricky, so you must put in extra effort to make a hassle-free integration
  • Configuration is a bit hard.

Pros and cons of Kubernetes:

Let’s address the pros and cons of Kubernetes below.


  • Allows deploying and scaling applications in multiple nodes
  • Offers enhanced security to applications with multiple layers
  • Supports horizontal scaling and quick load balancing
  • Comes with self-healing capabilities, ensuring uninterrupted service
  • Distributes workloads across a Kubernetes cluster – not on a single server


  • The learning curve is steep for beginners
  • The failure recovery mechanism is not impressive
  • Migrating applications to the Kubernetes platform is complex and time-consuming.

Okay! If you understand when to use AWS ECS and Kubernetes, it will be easy to pick the best tool. Let’s see them in the next section.

When to use ECS?

 AWS ECS is the best choice when you need to:

  • run and scale containerized applications on the cloud and on-premises
  • deploy and manage highly available and secured containerized applications
  • manage long-running applications
  • deploy containers without provisioning servers
  • run batch computing workloads across various AWS services

When to use Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is the best choice when you need to:

  • deploy, manage, and scale microservices-based applications on containers
  • use a tool with robust load balancing and service discovery
  • create isolated environments for tenants in a multi-tenant architecture
  • leverage self-healing capabilities to containers
  • migrate applications from on-premises to multi-cloud and hybrid environments.


Is Kubernetes hard to learn?

No, learning Kubernetes is not a tough task. Though the learning curve for Kubernetes is steep, if you invest your time and efforts, then learning Kubernetes is not a great deal. MindMajix offers Kubernetes training with an industry-designed course curriculum delivered by skilled trainers. Choosing MindMajix as your learning partner will be a game changer, undoubtedly.

Is it worth learning Kubernetes?

Yes, learning Kubernetes is purely a wise idea. According to Ambition Box, Kubernetes administrators can make an average salary of 11 LPA in India. They can make around 145k USD per year in the USA on average. Best companies like TCS, Accenture, IBM, HCL Tech, Capgemini, etc., hire Kubernetes engineers in huge numbers. So, a career in Kubernetes is promising and rewarding.

How does AWS ECS work?

AWS ECS has three layers: capacity, controller, and provisioning. Capacity is the infrastructure where containers run. The controller helps to deploy and scale applications. The provisioning layer supports interfacing with the scheduler to manage applications.

What is AWS ECS used for?

AWS ECS is used for deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications. This tool deploys applications using serverless technology.

Conclusion: ECS or Kubernetes – Which one is the right choice?

It’s time to decide – which tool is better, ECS or Kubernetes? Remember, ECS shines in managing long-running applications, batch computing workloads, serverless deployment, etc. On the other hand, Kubernetes excels in managing microservices-based applications, migrating applications, load balancing, and so on. Hence, you must choose the right tool that caters to your business requirements. That’s it!

What’s more! If you go through professional training in ECS and Kubernetes, it will help to elevate your knowledge of the tools. So you can make a strong decision on choosing the right tool for your business or project requirements. Sign up for ECS and Kubernetes courses in MindMajix and relentlessly create success stories.

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Last updated: 15 Mar 2024
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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