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What is Elastic Container Instance

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Elastic Container Instance (ECI) is an agile and secure serverless container management service. ECI provides you with the capability to run containers without having to dedicate resources to manage servers or the underlying infrastructure. Containers can be easily set up from just a container image, and you are charged only for the resources consumed by your containers.

ECI simplifies the deployment and management of containers. You do not need to purchase or manage instances yourself, or invest time in maintaining the underlying infrastructure. This allows you to focus on building the business logic of your applications.

ECI features multiple security optimizations to ensure isolation by design. Containers are deployed in sandboxes running a security hardened version of Aliyun Linux 2. Sandboxes are exclusive to each tenant, and container escapes are limited to the sandbox of the tenant. Furthermore, physical hosts are closely monitored, and Alibaba Cloud is notified of security events within one minute of detection.

ECI reuses the infrastructure of ECS, which has a proven track record for security, stability, and elasticity. Furthermore, ECI is optimized for containerized applications, offering lower overhead, faster start times, and security that is on-par with that of ECS.

ECI makes use of ECS security groups to control inbound and outbound traffic. You can apply the same security policies of your ECS instances to your ECI instances.

You can deploy and run containerized applications directly from the ECI console. ECI also provides a variety of SDK tools to help you connect your ECIs to your existing business systems or container orchestration system. You can also opt to connect ECI to your Kubernetes cluster through Virtual Kubelet to handle traffic surges.

(Recommended) ECI is deeply integrated with Alibaba Cloud Container Service for Kubernetes and Alibaba Cloud Serverless Kubernetes. Go to Alibaba Cloud Container Service to get started with a free trial.

A container group is the basic execution unit of ECI. ECI container groups are similar to pods in Kubernetes, and are fully compatible with Kubernetes pods.