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Community Blog Elastic Container Service: an Agile and Secure Serverless Container Instance Service

Elastic Container Service: an Agile and Secure Serverless Container Instance Service

This article will discuss what is Elastic Container Service, its Architecture, Benefits and Usage Scenarios.

What is Elastic Container Service?

Elastic Container Service is an agile, secure, and serverless container management service. Elastic Container Service enables you to run containers without having to manage underlying servers or plan resource capacities. Containers can be easily set up from Docker images, and you are charged only for the resources consumed by your containers.

Elastic Container Service is a container service provided by Alibaba Cloud that combines container and serverless technologies. Elastic Container Service makes it easy to run pods and containers in Alibaba Cloud. You do not need to purchase or manage Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances yourself. You can use Elastic Container Instance to directly deploy containers without investing time in O&M on the underlying ECS instances. This allows you to instead focus on developing your business. You are charged only for the resources used by your containers. This can reduce your usage cost.

Elastic container Service is deployed in Kata-based sandboxed containers to provide security and isolation of the virtual machine (VM) class. Furthermore, Elastic Container Service is deeply optimized for container runtime environments to offer higher running efficiency and faster startup compared with VMs.

You can deploy and run containerized applications directly in the Elastic Container Service console or call API operations to connect Elastic Container Service to your existing business systems. You can also connect Elastic Container Service to your Kubernetes clusters by using Virtual Kubelet. After the applications are deployed or Elastic Container Service is connected, you can use the elastic capabilities provided by Elastic Container Service to handle traffic bursts.

You can connect the Elastic Container Service to your business systems by using the following methods:

  • (Recommended) Connect Elastic Container Service to fully managed, O&M-free serverless Kubernetes (ASK) clusters. In this case, underlying pods are hosted by Elastic Container Service.
  • (Recommended) Connect Elastic Container Service to Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK) to provide your ACK clusters with elastic capabilities for cluster deployment.
  • Connect Elastic Container Service to Kubernetes clusters deployed on ECS by using Virtual Kubelet to provide convenient and efficient computing resources.
  • Connect Elastic Container Service to Kubernetes clusters deployed in data centres by using Virtual Kubelet to provide unlimited computing power.
  • Connect Elastic Container Service to your business systems by using API operations. You can create and release elastic container Service anytime at low costs. Elastic container instances deliver high performance in handling concurrent workloads and allow you to offload the burdens of planning resource capacities.

The Architecture of Elastic Container Service

Elastic Container Service provides a hierarchical solution for Kubernetes. In this solution, Elastic Container Service schedules and manages underlying pods, and Kubernetes serves as the Platform as a Service (PaaS) layer above the Elastic Container Instance layer to manage workloads. For more information, see Kubernetes and Elastic Container Instance.

Elastic Container Service is seamlessly integrated into ACK and ASK. You can use ACK or ASK to experience the capabilities provided by Elastic Container Service in running containers. The following figure shows the architecture of the Alibaba Cloud container service portfolio.

Elastic_Container_Service

Why Use Elastic Container Service

The Elastic Container Service has the following benefits:

  • O&M-free

Elastic Container Service uses a serverless architecture and hosted infrastructure. You need only to provide container images to use the service. You do not need to manage underlying servers, pre-create and maintain clusters, or plan resource capacities and can instead focus on innovating your business.

  • Elastic

Elastic Container Service uses the global computing infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud as a resource pool to provide nearly unlimited computing resources of various types such as CPUs, GPUs, and instances that have high clock speeds. All of these resources support a large number of concurrent workloads and are available to you on-demand.

  • Cost-effective

Elastic Container Service charges for resources consumed based on the number of seconds from the start time to the stop time of the elastic container instances. You can use Elastic Container Service in combination with Kubernetes or a self-built scheduling system. Elastic Container Service supports auto-scaling based on business traffic to reduce the costs caused by idle resources.

  • Efficient

Elastic Container Service supports instance startup within seconds and can scale out resources on demand to cope with hundreds of times of burst traffic. These features can free you from having to estimate the traffic for your clusters and business.

  • Compatible

Elastic Container Service is compatible with Kubernetes. You can directly schedule pods on Kubernetes clusters to Elastic Container Instance. Elastic Container Instance is seamlessly integrated with Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK) and serverless Kubernetes (ASK). You can also connect Elastic Container Instance to your self-built Kubernetes clusters by using Virtual Kubelet.

  • Integrated

Elastic Container Service is automatically integrated with other Alibaba Cloud services to support features such as network access, log collection, data persistence, and service monitoring. These Alibaba Cloud services include Log Service, Apsara File Storage NAS (NAS), and Application Real-Time Monitoring Service (ARMS).

Related Products

Elastic Container Instance

You can easily run containers without managing servers. Also, you only pay for the resources that have been consumed by the containers. ECI helps you focus on your business applications instead of managing infrastructure.

Elastic Compute Service

Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provides fast memory and the latest Intel CPUs to help you to power your cloud applications and achieve faster results with low latency.

Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK)

Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK) is a fully managed service. ACK is integrated with services such as virtualization, storage, network and security, providing the user high performance and scalable Kubernetes environments for containerized applications. Alibaba Cloud is a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider(KCSP)and ACK is certified by Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program which ensures the consistent experience of Kubernetes and workload portability.

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