Navigating the Complex Landscape of AWS Container Services

While AWS offers a range of powerful tools for container deployment, some services may no longer be the best fit due to newer alternatives that offer improved functionality and ease of use. For instan...
Navigating the Complex Landscape of AWS Container Services
Written by Ryan Gibson
  • The plethora of container deployment options can overwhelm Amazon Web Services (AWS) ever-evolving ecosystem. This complexity is not just a trivial inconvenience; it’s a significant challenge that developers and companies face when optimizing their applications for the cloud. Understanding the different services AWS offers for container deployment and their advantages and disadvantages is crucial for making informed decisions that align with specific business needs.

    An in-depth video (below) by the YouTube Channel Be A Better Dev navigates the complex landscape of AWS container services.

    Container Deployment on AWS: A Multitude of Options

    AWS provides several container services, each tailored to different requirements and use cases. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular services and their ideal use scenarios:

    1. Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)

    If Kubernetes is your choice for container orchestration, Amazon EKS is the go-to service. It offers a managed Kubernetes service that simplifies the tasks of setting up, scaling, and managing container applications. EKS is highly scalable and resilient, spreading applications across availability zones to enhance fault tolerance. However, newcomers to Kubernetes might find the initial setup daunting, and the costs can vary significantly based on the resources used.

    2. AWS Lambda

    AWS Lambda can now deploy container images for those operating within the serverless paradigm, allowing code to run in response to events on a fully managed platform. Lambda is particularly cost-effective for applications with variable workloads due to its pay-as-you-go pricing model. However, it imposes a 15-minute maximum execution time, which may not be suitable for long-running applications.

    3. AWS Fargate

    Fargate is a serverless container compute engine with Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon EKS. This service removes the need to manage servers and clusters, making it easier to focus on designing and building applications. Fargate is ideal for applications that require long-running processes and high availability without the operational overhead of managing servers.

    4. AWS ECS (Elastic Container Service)

    ECS is an end-to-end solution for running a wide range of containerized applications. It supports both Docker containers and now, with Fargate, offers a serverless option to run containers without managing servers or clusters. ECS is highly versatile but comes with a complexity that can be a barrier for users unfamiliar with container orchestration.

    5. AWS Lightsail

    Lightsail is designed for simpler use cases like small businesses or developers who want to launch a project quickly. It provides a more straightforward and more cost-effective option for running containers, with a setup process that is significantly less complex than ECS or EKS. However, it might not scale as well as other AWS services for more extensive applications.

    6. AWS App Runner

    App Runner is the newest addition to AWS’s container services, offering an easy way to build and run applications directly from a container image or source code. It is a fully managed service, making it ideal for developers who prefer to focus on their applications rather than infrastructure management.

    7. Amazon EC2

    While not a container service per se, EC2 allows users to run containers on virtual machines they manage. EC2 offers excellent flexibility and control over containers, making it suitable for custom container orchestration setups. However, it requires a deep understanding of cloud infrastructure management, which can be a significant hurdle for less experienced users.

    Choosing the Right Service

    The decision to use a particular AWS container service depends on several factors, including the complexity of the application, budget constraints, specific technical requirements, and team expertise. A flowchart or decision tree approach can help clarify the best path forward by considering these variables systematically.

    Services to Avoid

    While AWS offers a range of powerful tools for container deployment, some services may no longer be the best fit due to newer alternatives that offer improved functionality and ease of use. For instance, Elastic Beanstalk, while versatile, has been somewhat superseded by services like AWS App Runner, which offers similar capabilities but with greater simplicity and lower cost.


    As containers continue to be a critical part of cloud infrastructure, understanding the nuances of each AWS service is vital to deploying efficient, resilient, and cost-effective applications. Whether your application requires the robustness of Kubernetes with EKS, the simplicity of App Runner, or the power of EC2, AWS provides various solutions to meet the diverse needs of modern software development. Making informed choices about container deployment will ensure that your applications are performant and aligned with your strategic business goals.

    Get the WebProNews newsletter delivered to your inbox

    Get the free daily newsletter read by decision makers

    Advertise with Us

    Ready to get started?

    Get our media kit