Amazon EC2 Container Service vs Beanstalk: What are the differences?
Amazon EC2 Container Service: Container management service that supports Docker containers. Amazon EC2 Container Service lets you launch and stop container-enabled applications with simple API calls, allows you to query the state of your cluster from a centralized service, and gives you access to many familiar Amazon EC2 features like security groups, EBS volumes and IAM roles; Beanstalk: Private code hosting for teams. A single process to commit code, review with the team, and deploy the final result to your customers.
Amazon EC2 Container Service can be classified as a tool in the "Containers as a Service" category, while Beanstalk is grouped under "Code Collaboration & Version Control".
Some of the features offered by Amazon EC2 Container Service are:
- Docker Compatibility
- Managed Clusters
- Programmatic Control
On the other hand, Beanstalk provides the following key features:
- Setup and manage repositories- Import or create Subversion and Git repositories that are instantly available to your team.
- Invite team members, partners & clients- Restrict access to certain repos and provide read-only or full read/write permissions.
- Browse files and changes- Every version of every file you’ve committed to Beanstalk is just a click away. See a timeline of who made changes and view the differences between revisions. Syntax highlighting for over 70 languages.
"Backed by amazon" is the primary reason why developers consider Amazon EC2 Container Service over the competitors, whereas "Ftp deploy" was stated as the key factor in picking Beanstalk.
According to the StackShare community, Amazon EC2 Container Service has a broader approval, being mentioned in 794 company stacks & 391 developers stacks; compared to Beanstalk, which is listed in 21 company stacks and 8 developer stacks.
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We began our hosting journey, as many do, on Heroku because they make it easy to deploy your application and automate some of the routine tasks associated with deployments, etc. However, as our team grew and our product matured, our needs have outgrown Heroku. I will dive into the history and reasons for this in a future blog post.
We decided to migrate our infrastructure to Kubernetes running on Amazon EKS. Although Google Kubernetes Engine has a slightly more mature Kubernetes offering and is more user-friendly; we decided to go with EKS because we already using other AWS services (including a previous migration from Heroku Postgres to AWS RDS). We are still in the process of moving our main website workloads to EKS, however we have successfully migrate all our staging and testing PR apps to run in a staging cluster. We developed a Slack chatops application (also running in the cluster) which automates all the common tasks of spinning up and managing a production-like cluster for a pull request. This allows our engineering team to iterate quickly and safely test code in a full production environment. Helm plays a central role when deploying our staging apps into the cluster. We use CircleCI to build docker containers for each PR push, which are then published to Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECR). An
upgrade-operator process watches the ECR repository for new containers and then uses Helm to rollout updates to the staging environments. All this happens automatically and makes it really easy for developers to get code onto servers quickly. The immutable and isolated nature of our staging environments means that we can do anything we want in that environment and quickly re-create or restore the environment to start over.
The next step in our journey is to migrate our production workloads to an EKS cluster and build out the CD workflows to get our containers promoted to that cluster after our QA testing is complete in our staging environments.
We use the container service so that we can deploy our application services with Dockerfiles, so that we can test locally and deploy to AWS simply.
Additionally, the ability to scale containers and have them automatically restart in case of failure is very helpful to our operations.
We use the EC2 registry for secure private container registration. When used in combination with I AM roles we can control customer access to repos on and individual basis.
Amazon EC2 is our primary application hosting solution. Most applications are not exposed on the internet and use a virtually private cloud to interact with each other.
With a little forethought, ECS can handle a good portion of my development stack as though it were production. 12 Factor configuration makes this a breeze.