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Last Updated: Feb 01, 2021

Elastic Container Instance provides an O&M-free, elastic, cost-effective, and efficient container runtime environment.


The following list describes the core benefits of Elastic Container Instance:

  • O&M-free

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

  • Efficient

    Elastic Container Instance 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 traffic for your clusters and business.

  • Compatible

    Elastic Container Instance 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 Instance 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).


A container group is the basic execution unit of Elastic Container Instance. Container groups in Elastic Container Instance are fully compatible with Kubernetes pods. You can use Elastic Container Instance as the container runtime environment to improve the elasticity and security of your business system and reduce the usage and O&M costs.

The following table describes the runtime environments provided by different container services of Alibaba Cloud.


Elastic Container Instance


ECS Bare Metal Instance


Billed only on pods to save costs.

Billed on all ECS resources.

Billed on all ECS Bare Metal Instance resources.


Easy O&M and lower costs without the need to manage nodes.

Node management and resource O&M required.

Node management and resource O&M required.


Low virtualization loss and instance startup within seconds without the need to reserve resources.

Low virtualization loss.

No virtualization loss.


Highest elasticity. Elastic Container Instance provides instances with lower specifications and higher inventory.

High elasticity.

General elasticity.


Strong isolation between pods to enhance security.

Strong isolation between instances and weak isolation between pods.

Strong isolation between instances and weak isolation between pods.

Chance of breakdown

Extremely low. The breakdown is limited to single pods and your business is almost not affected.

Extremely low. A single instance including pods deployed on the instance is affected.

Extremely low. A single instance including pods deployed on the instance is affected.