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Elastic Container Instance:Benefits

Last Updated:Oct 13, 2023

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

Core benefits

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

  • Zero O&M

    Elastic Container Instance uses a serverless architecture and hosted infrastructure. You need to only provide container images to use Elastic Container Instance. You do not need to manage underlying servers, create and maintain clusters, or plan resource capacities. This helps you focus on the development of your business.

  • Flexible deployment

    Elastic Container Instance uses the global computing infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud as a resource pool to provide a large amount of computing resources of various types. The resources include CPUs, vGPUs, and resources with high clock speeds. All these resources support a large number of concurrent workloads, and are available to you at any time.

  • Cost-effectiveness

    Elastic Container Instance is billed based on the resources consumed and the number 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-managed scheduling system. Elastic Container Instance supports auto scaling based on business traffic to reduce the costs caused by idle resources.

  • High elasticity

    Elastic Container Instance supports instance startup within seconds and allows you to scale up resources based on your business requirements to cope with bursts in traffic of up to hundreds of times. This way, you do not need to plan for your cluster capacity and business traffic.

  • Compatibility

    Elastic Container Instance is compatible with Kubernetes. You can directly schedule pods on Kubernetes clusters to elastic container instances. Elastic Container Instance is integrated with Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK). You can also use Virtual Kubelet to connect an elastic container instance to a Kubernetes cluster that you built on Elastic Compute Service (ECS) or in an on-premises environment.

  • Integration

    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 Simple Log Service, Apsara File Storage NAS (NAS), and Application Real-Time Monitoring Service (ARMS).


A container group is the basic execution unit of an elastic container instance. Container groups in elastic container instances 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 compares the runtime environments provided by different container services of Alibaba Cloud.


Elastic Container Instance


ECS Bare Metal Instance

Billable item

Pods only.

All ECS resources.

All ECS Bare Metal Instance resources.


Simple 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.

Modest 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 and the pods that are deployed on the instance are affected.

Extremely low. A single instance and the pods that are deployed on the instance are affected.