Community Blog Elastic Compute Service for Scalable Business Solutions by Alibaba Cloud

Elastic Compute Service for Scalable Business Solutions by Alibaba Cloud

This blog is a complete guide about what ECS is, its features, and its components.

By Rupal Shirpurkar, Alibaba Cloud MVP and Business Head (Cloud BU - APAC) Click2Cloud Inc.

Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud service provider in China and the third largest in the world because of its products, services, and cloud solutions. They have been featured in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for their contribution to Cloud IaaS. As Alibaba Cloud has developed its international business, Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) has become a service that can be adapted by anyone worldwide.

What is ECS?

Elastic Compute Service (ECS) is a highly productive, reliable, and scalable service developed by Alibaba Cloud to empower business application. It relies on an Apsara Distributed Operating System. Alibaba Cloud has independently developed this smart product to achieve seamless management of millions of servers. ECS was developed to overcome serious infrastructure-related computing challenges, such as infrastructure performance optimization, resource amplification, automated tasks, and maintenance of customers across different industries (e-commerce, finance, education, manufacturing, scientific computing, and ISPs).

Alibaba Cloud ECS is scalable enough to support high elasticity that can meet your business demands from the website hosting to large scale calculation cluster with ease. 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 major components:

  • Instance: An ECS instance is a basic virtual server that consists of basic computing units like vCPU, memory, operating system, bandwidth, and disks. Here, the instance type regulates computing performance, memory specifications, and applicable scenarios of an instance. Each instance type has its 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 in ECS 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 at a certain time instant. Snapshots are used to back up and restore data or to create custom images.
  • Security Group: A security group is a logical grouping of instances located in the same region. The group has similar security requirements and requires access to interact with each other. A security group acts as a virtual firewall for the ECS instances inside it.
  • Network: It facilitates networking for hosts and virtual machines. It is 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 that is centrally planned and managed by Alibaba Cloud.

The following figure shows the assembly of major components in ECS:

Figure Above: Major ECS Components

ECS Features

  1. Computing Solution: Alibaba Cloud has developed various instance families, starting 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 database, caches, and search and spark clusters. They also offer bare metal servers, such as X-Dragon, along with its host that solves the problem of extreme peak traffic.
  2. Runtime Environment: ECS brings smart-resources from the operating system and open-source platforms altogether to create a runtime environment. This results in standard solutions and software in the market with updated versions. It makes cloud resources more rich and secure.
  3. Elasticity: It is the key feature of ECS, which helps to deploy multiple instances within a few minutes. It supports online upgrades, auto-provisioning, and auto-scaling, enabling you to automatically adjust computing needs and manage fluctuations in peak business hours.
  4. Operations and Maintenance: Elastic Compute Service takes care of the control requirements of cloud resources through open APIs and operations/maintenance functions. These capabilities allow you to use resource orchestration service, operation orchestration service, and cloud monitor to develop automatic OAM and a performance monitoring solution.
  5. Network Security and Backup: ECS helps you protect your data and resources on the cloud by allowing you to take snapshots and backup your data anytime. With Alibaba Cloud ECS, you can consolidate all the steps for network and data security engineering. It helps to create flexible applications with minimal investments. ECS also supports SSL certificates, instance ID, 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 instances. Preemptible instances allow you to request space ECS resources ECS helps enterprises with cost-effectiveness, reducing the total cost of ownership by 50% when compared to on-premise 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 business to ECS through professional migration channels provided by Alibaba Cloud.


To scale-up IT infrastructure and data security for a growing business, Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service is a great choice, due to its elastic, scalable, secure, global, and reliable smart solutions. It helps deploy resources instantly to meet real-time business demands with benefits, such as high-performance network, automation, stability, storage, and much more.

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