Community Blog Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service for Scalable Business Solutions

Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service for Scalable Business Solutions

This article explains Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and its features and components.

By Prashant Mishra, CEO and Founder of Click2Cloud Inc. and Alibaba Cloud MVP

Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud service provider in China and the third largest in the with its industry-leading products, services, and cloud solutions. They have been featured in various top industry analyst reports, including Gartner's Magic Quadrant and Forrester's Wave, for their contribution to cloud IaaS. As Alibaba Cloud has ventured internationally, Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) has become a service adopted by customers worldwide.

What Is ECS?

Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) is a highly productive, reliable, and scalable service that empowers business application. It relies on the Apsara Distributed Operating System. Alibaba Cloud developed this product to manage millions of servers seamlessly. ECS was developed to overcome infrastructure-related computing challenges, such as infrastructure performance optimization, resource amplification, automated tasks, and customer maintenance across different industries, including e-commerce, finance, education, manufacturing, scientific computing, and ISPs.

Alibaba Cloud ECS is scalable enough to support high elasticity and meet your business demands, including website hosting and large-scale cluster computing. It can provide hundreds of thousands of vCPUs in minutes for a single customer in a single region because of its sophisticated placement algorithm, dynamic planning, and hardware/software optimization.

ECS Components

Elastic Compute Service is comprised of the following components:

  • Instance: An ECS instance is a virtual server that consists of basic computing units, such as vCPU, memory, operating system, bandwidth, and disks. Here, the instance type regulates the computing performance, memory specifications, and applicable scenarios of an instance. Each instance type has unique specifications, including the number of vCPUs and memory capacity.
  • Image: Images provide operating systems, initial application data, and prerequisites for instances. ECS supports multiple Linux distributions and Windows Server operating systems.
  • Block Storage: Block Storage offers high performance and low latency. ECS comes with distributed storage architecture-based cloud disks and physical storage-based local disks.
  • Snapshot: A snapshot is a stateful data file of a cloud disk from a specific time. Snapshots can be used for backing up and restoring data, or for creating custom images.
  • Security Group: A security group is a logical grouping of instances located in the same region with similar security requirements that require access to interact with each other. A security group acts as a virtual firewall for the ECS instances inside it.
  • Network: It facilitates the networking for hosts and virtual machines. Networks are distributed as a virtual private cloud (VPC) or classic network with respect to ECS.
  • VPC: It is an isolated private cloud network. Users can configure a private IP address range, a routing table, and a gateway for a VPC.
  • Classic Network: All classic network-type instances are built on a shared infrastructure network centrally-planned and managed by Alibaba Cloud.

The following figure shows the component assembly in ECS:

Figure: Major ECS Components

ECS Features

  1. Computing Solution: Alibaba Cloud has developed various instance families from entry-level to enterprise-level products. Organizations can use entry-level instances to manage the website, applications, and test scenarios, whereas enterprise-level instances manage different workloads, such as databases, caches, search, and spark clusters. They also offer bare metal servers, such as X-dragon, and its host that solves extreme peak traffic problems.
  2. Runtime Environment: ECS brings smart-resources from the operating system and open-source platforms together to create a runtime environment. This results in standard solutions and software in the market with updated versions, making cloud resources more rich and secure.
  3. Elasticity: This is the key feature of ECS, which helps deploy multiple instances in a few minutes. It supports online upgrades, auto-provisioning, and auto-scaling, which enables you to adjust computing needs and manage fluctuations automatically during peak business hours.
  4. Operations and Maintenance: Elastic Compute Service takes care of the control requirements and cloud resources through open APIs and operations/maintenance functions. As a result, you can use the Resource Orchestration Service, Operation Orchestration Service, and CloudMonitor to develop an automatic OAM and performance monitoring solution.
  5. Network Security and Backup: ECS helps you protect your data and resources on the cloud by taking snapshots and backing up your data regularly. With Alibaba Cloud ECS, you can consolidate all the steps for network and data security engineering to create flexible applications with minimal investments. ECS also supports SSL certificates, instance IDs, and SSH keys to ensure network security and uniqueness.
  6. Billing: ECS provides flexible billing models, such as reserved instance, pay-as-you-go, subscription, and preemptible instance. Preemptible instances allow you to request temporary ECS resources to reduce costs. ECS helps enterprises reduce their total cost of ownership by 50% compared to on-premises servers.
  7. Migration: As companies are modernizing their infrastructure, moving to the cloud has become inevitable. Lately, more than 10,000 enterprises have migrated their applications, websites, and core businesses to ECS through professional migration channels provided by Alibaba Cloud.


Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service can scale up IT infrastructure and data security for growing businesses with its elastic, scalable, secure, global, and reliable solutions. ECS can deploy your resources instantly to meet real-time business demands with benefits, such as high-performance networks, automation, stability, storage, and more.

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