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What is AWS Fargate? Amazon EC2 vs. Amazon Fargate

AWS Fargate was launched a few months back. This is a service that runs docker containers serverless, as per individual needs. When you are running multiple ECS based APIs, the common problem is how to reserve multiple instances and how to manage them efficiently?  Fargate is the solution that utilizes Docker containers and allows them to run virtually on any machine that works. Let us discuss the concepts of Amazon Fargate for 2020 in detail here.

What is Amazon Fargate? 

AWS Fargate is a compute engine for Amazon ECS that allows you to run Docker containers without having to manage servers or clusters. With AWS Fargate, there is no need to scale, provision, or configure clusters of virtual machines to run containers. You don’t have to choose server types and how they communicate together. You just have to focus on building and designing an application instead of managing the infrastructure that helps to run the application.

Further, Amazon ECS has two modes – the Fargate Launch Type and EC2 Launch Type. With the Fargate Launch Type, you may pack your application in containers, specify the memory or CPU requirements, define IAM or networking policies, and launch your application finally.

With EC2 Launch Type, you may define server-level, and get more granular control over the infrastructure to run container applications. It helps to identify the best server for your application based on your source requirements.

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Benefits of Amazon Fargate 

Benefits of Amazon Fargate

Read: How To Create Your Own First Amazon EC2 Instance?

1). No Cluster management

With Fargate, you just have to think of containers and focus on building and operating your app. It eliminates the need for managing a cluster of Amazon EC2 Instances. You don’t have to pick the instance types, manage the cluster scheduling, or optimize the cluster optimization. All of these infrastructure needs are managed by the Fargate service itself.

2). Seamless Scaling

With Fargate, it is easy to scale servers. You don’t have to worry about provisioning compute resources for container apps. Once you define the application requirements like CPU usage or memory etc., AWS Fargate scales your requirements in a highly available manner. You no longer have to decide when to scale requirements and pack them for optimal utilization. Fargate allows you to launch thousands of containers together in seconds and easily scale to run your mission-critical applications.

3). Integration with Amazon ECS

AWS Fargate is integrated with Amazon ECS quickly. You just have to define application requirements, specify CPU and memory requirements, define IAM or networking policies that are needed by every container, and upload everything to the Amazon ECS. Once everything is set up, AWS Fargate manages or launches containers for you seamlessly.

4). Addressing Security

AWS completely abstracts the underlying infrastructure from your control and there is no mechanism to secure container deployments. This is the biggest reason why organizations still deploy container in dedicated virtual machines. There is only one solution to the problem that allows you to reap the benefits of AWS Fargate.

You should adopt a container native approach to security here and embed maximum security within a container. This approach provides complete control for an application and runs it within the user space of the container. Further, this approach can be integrated with the DevOps process as well and does not require any changes to your application deployment scripts. This is the only way that natively supports the AWS Fargate to monitor and secure your applications.

5). Lower down the Costs

AWS Fargate not only manages the infrastructure but lowers down the overall application costs too. Honestly, most container deployments are done on dedicated virtual machines today. The reason is that dedicated virtual machines can be secured easily. But this type of deployment model always adds extra costs to the application. So, what is the solution that can be used here to replace the dedicated virtual machine and manage costs amazingly?

AWS Fargate is the solution that reduces costs in the following way:

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  • It charges for a particular time span your application container workloads are running not for the time underlying virtual machine instances are running.
  • It is able to determine the proper number of containers that may run on any given host.

Based on these estimates, AWS Fargate deployments can be reduced up to 10 percent when compared to EC2/EKS/ECS deployments. Also, you can save an extra 15 percent costs when compared to dedicated EC2 instances as there is no provisioning of computing resources in the case of AWS Fargate. A total of 25 percent savings is much higher over the typical container deployment. You just focus on application building and infrastructure work is taken care of by the Fargate service itself.

6). Reduces Complexity

Everybody knows that Kubernetes is the winner of the container orchestration market but what about the production deployment challenges? The biggest question with Kubernetes is which platform to use for Kubernetes deployment.  The choices are generally overwhelming and slowing down the product deployments of containers. Additionally, you realize that it is hard to scale or manage Kubernetes effectively.

Realizing these challenges, Amazon released the Fargate service where customers don’t have to worry about containers. Just define the parameters for containers and Fargate takes care of everything rest. Most importantly, Fargate manages the ECS/EKS clusters including the EC2 instances. So, there is no more infrastructure to manage at all.

How Fargate Works?

Here are the steps on how AWS Fargate works actually.

  • Build the container image in the first step.
  • Now define resources and images needed for your application.
  • Now launch containers and AWS Fargate manages all underlying infrastructure.
  • AWS runs containers for you, scales your requirements, and manages containers for availability.

How Fargate Works?

Amazon EC2 vs Amazon Fargate – Which one to choose?

These are two major models for how to run containers on AWS. Amazon EC2 manages or deploy your own EC2 instances to run applications effectively. With AWS Fargate, you may run containers without any need of EC2 instances. Both are wonderful techniques to manage or scale your containers in a reliable fashion but which service should you choose is always a tough task. In this section, we will help you in making the right decision by understanding both services in depth based on different parameters Pricing and the Use Cases.


Read: How to Become an AWS Certified Solution Architect? Shine in AWS Clouds

With EC2 Launch type, billing is based on the cost of underlying EC2 instances. It allows you to optimize the process by taking advantage of billing models like spot instances or reserved instances etc. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that containers are densely packed onto instances to get maximum benefits out of them, otherwise, it will be merely a waste of money. With AWS Fargate Launch Type, billing is based on CPU or memory requirements per seconds. You only have to pay for what your task uses, no need to pay for extra for EC2 instance that goes unused.

Use Cases

Here are different scenarios that will explain to you when to use EC2 or Fargate service for application deployment.

  • If the workload is consistent for CPU or memory requirements and you want to optimize for the price then you should consider running a cluster of reserved EC2 instances or spot instances. You just have to maintain this cluster and optimize it. Also, you can take advantage of EC2 instance saving strategies such as spot or reserved instances.
  • Managing a large cluster of EC2 instances is generally harder and you need to make sure that all instances are patched, secured, and updated with the latest version of Docker in the right way. If you don’t want to get into instance management then Fargate is the best choice here. It will deploy clusters automatically by taking care of underlying infrastructure itself.
  • In case, the workload is small where the website has more traffic during the day and low traffic at night then AWS Fargate is again the best choice. You may scale down tiny container at night that costs you little and scale up again in the daytime when infrastructure requirements are higher.
  • If there is a small test environment then AWS Fargate is a perfect fit. It is generally wasteful running tiny test environment on EC2 instance because EC2 instance is too powerful that you will have a hard time getting a good percentage of utilization.
  • When the workload is made up of consistent periodic tasks or occasional jobs that come from a queue then AWS Fargate is again a perfect choice. Instead of paying for an EC2 instance, you may use AWS Fargate to run your containers based on requirements.

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Here, we discuss five different situations when you should use AWS Fargate instead of EC2 instances that cost higher. We are not saying that AWS Fargate service is more powerful than AWS EC2 but deciding on the right technology is a matter of choice. Most importantly, you should understand the project first, analyze the requirements, only then you may decide on the right cloud service for your next project. To know more on AWS and the related services or tools, join our AWS certification program at JanBask Training.

Read: What is AWS Lightsail? Amazon EC2 vs. Amazon Lightsail

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