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What is Elastic Container Instance?

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2021

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

Overview

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

Elastic container instances are deployed in Kata-based sandboxed containers to provide VM-level security and isolation. In addition, Elastic Container Instance 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 Instance console or call API operations to connect Elastic Container Instance to your existing business systems. You can also use Virtual Kubelet to connect Elastic Container Instance to your Kubernetes clusters. After the applications are deployed or Elastic Container Instance is connected, you can use the elastic capabilities provided by Elastic Container Instance to handle traffic bursts.

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

  • (Recommended) Connect Elastic Container Instance to fully managed, O&M-free Serverless Kubernetes (ASK) clusters. In this case, underlying pods are hosted by Elastic Container Instance.

  • (Recommended) Connect Elastic Container Instance to Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK) clusters to provide your ACK clusters with elastic capabilities for cluster deployment.

  • Connect Elastic Container Instance to self-managed Kubernetes clusters deployed on ECS by using Virtual Kubelet to provide convenient and efficient computing resources.

  • Connect Elastic Container Instance to self-managed Kubernetes clusters deployed in data centers by using Virtual Kubelet to provide unlimited computing power in the cloud.

  • Connect Elastic Container Instance to your business systems by calling API operations. You can create and release elastic container instances anytime at low costs. Elastic container instances deliver high performance to handle concurrent workloads and allow you to offload the burdens of planning resource capacities.

Note

You must monitor the running status of pods and containers that run on Elastic Container Instance and the running status of business deployed in containers. For example, you must monitor the CPU utilization and disk usage of pods and containers, and the business health.

Architecture

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

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

Pricing

When you use Elastic Container Instance, you are charged for the following resources:

  • Elastic container instances: You are charged for computing resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. The following billing modes are supported:

    • Billing based on vCPU and memory specifications

    • Billing based on Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instance types

  • Image caches: If you use the image cache feature, you are charged for the creation and use of image caches.

  • Other resources:

    • Network: If your elastic container instances require Internet access, you must configure elastic IP addresses (EIPs) or NAT gateways for the elastic container instances. You are charged for the corresponding network usage.

    • Storage: If you need persistent storage for your elastic container instances, you can attach disks, Apsara File Storage NAS file systems, and Object Storage Service (OSS) buckets as volumes to your elastic container instances. You are charged for the amount of resources that you use.

For more information, see Billing.

Contact us

If you encounter problems when you use Elastic Container Instance, you can join the DingTalk group of serverless containers by scanning the following QR code or by searching for the 30390760 group number in DingTalk.QR code of the DingTalk group