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What is Elastic Container Instance?

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2021

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

ECI simplifies the process of running containers and pods in Alibaba Cloud. You do not need to purchase or manage Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances yourself. You do not need to configure virtual machines (VMs) on ECS instances and deploy containers on the VMs. With ECI, you can directly deploy containers without investing time in maintaining the underlying ECS instances. 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 Kata-based sandboxes, which provide VM-class security and isolation. Furthermore, ECI is optimized for containerized applications, offering lower overheads and faster start time compared with VMs.

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

  • (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.