Amazon Elastic Container Service and Fargate - ECS - AWS Certification Cheat Sheet

Let’s get a quick overview of AWS Elastic Container Service and Fargate from an AWS certification perspective. We will look at important certification questions regarding AWS Elastic Container Service and Fargate.

You will learn

  • What is AWS Elastic Container Service
  • What is Amazon Fargate?
  • What is the difference between Amazon Elastic Container Service and Amazon Fargate?
  • What is Docker?
  • When do you use Containers?
  • Why do we need Container Orchestration?
  • What are the different options to run containers in AWS?
  • When do you use Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon ECS, Amazon Fargate and Amazon EKS to run Docker Containers?


Elastic Container Services are ideal to run Microservices.

Let’s first understand what is a microservice.

Enterprises are heading towards microservices architectures.

Microservices architecture focus on building small focused microservices

Advantages of microservices:

  • Flexibility to innovate and build applications in different programming languages (Go, Java, Python, JavaScript, etc)

However deployments become complex!

How can we have one way of deploying Go, Java, Python or JavaScript .. microservices?

  • Enter containers!


You can create Docker images for each microservice.

Docker image contains everything a microservice needs to run:

  • Application Runtime (JDK or Python or NodeJS)
  • Application code
  • Dependencies

You can run these docker containers the same way on any infrastructure:

  • Your local machine
  • Corporate data center
  • Cloud

Docker - Advantages

Let’s look at some of the advantages that Docker provides:

  • Docker containers are light weight (compared to Virtual Machines)
  • Docker provides isolation for containers
  • Docker is cloud neutral

As we build more an more Docker images for our microservices, a new challenge emerges.

How do you manage 1000’s of containers belonging to multiple microservices?

  • Enter Container Orchestration!

Container Orchestration

Requirement : I want 10 instances of Microservice A container, 15 instances of Microservice B container and ….

Typical Features of Container Orchestrator:

  • Auto Scaling - Scale containers based on demand
  • Service Discovery - Help microservices find one another
  • Load Balancer - Distribute load among multiple instances of a microservice
  • Self Healing - Do health checks and replace failing instances
  • Zero Downtime Deployments - Release new versions without downtime

Container Orchestration Options

Let’s look at the different options for container orchestration.

Let’s start with the Cloud Neutral option Kubernetes.

  • AWS service - AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)

Note: EKS does not have a free tier

AWS Specific options include

  • AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS)
  • AWS Fargate : Serverless version of AWS ECS

Note: AWS Fargate does not have a free tier

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a fully managed service for container orchestration.

AWS Fargate is a serverless option.

Use cases include:

  • Microservices Architectures - Create containers for your microservices and orchestrate them using ECS or Fargate
  • Batch Processing. Run batch workloads on ECS using AWS Batch

Amazon ECS - Task Definition

To manage containers using Amazon ECS, you need Tasks.

Tasks contain Container Definition(s)

  • What is the image you want to use?
  • What resources does the container use (memory, CPU and ports)?

Two important task related configuration to remember:

  • Task Role (Optional): If you need access to AWS services (Amazon RDS etc)
  • Task execution IAM role: Provides permissions to pull container images and publish container logs to Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon ECS - Terminology

Here is the important terminology used in ECS

  • Service: Allows you to run and maintain a specified number (the “desired count”) of tasks
  • ECS cluster: Grouping of one or more container instances (EC2 instances) where you run your tasks
  • Container Instance - EC2 instance in the cluster running a container agent (helps it communicate with the cluster)
    • AWS provides ECS ready AMIs with container agents pre-installed.

Amazon Elastic Container Service - Remember

Here are a few important things to remember:

  • AWS Fargate does NOT give you visibility into the EC2 instances in the cluster.
  • You can use On-Demand instances or Spot instances to create your cluster.
  • You can load balance using Application Load Balancers
  • Two features of ALB are important for ECS:
    • Dynamic host port mapping: Multiple tasks from the same service are allowed per EC2 (container) instance
    • Path-based routing: Multiple services can use the same listener port on same ALB and be routed based on path ( and

Amazon ECR (Elastic Container Registry)

You’ve created docker images for your microservices. Where do you store them?

You need a Container Registry.

Amazon ECR is a Fully-managed Docker container registry provided by AWS. Its an alternative to Docker Hub.

Additional Resources for Containers

Here are a few recommended videos to watch

  • Docker:
  • Kubernetes:
  • AWS Fargate and ECS:

AWS Elastic Container Service and Fargate - AWS Certification Questions

When do you use these services to run Docker Containers in AWS?

Elastic Beanstalk

  • Single container or multiple containers in same EC2 instance
  • Recommended for simple web applications

Amazon ECS

  • AWS specific solution for container orchestration
  • Ideal for microservices

Amazon Fargate

  • Serverless version of Amazon ECS
  • You want to run microservices and you don’t want to manage the cluster

Amazon EKS

  • AWS managed service for Kubernetes
  • Recommended if you are already using Kubernetes and would want to move the workload to AWS

Certification - Recommended Reading

Cloud Certifications - AWS, Azure and Google Cloud - Top 8 FAQ For Me

Google Cloud For Beginners - How to choose a Database Service?

Teaching Cloud Certifications - Top 6 Learnings

Google Cloud For Beginners - How to choose a Compute Service?

Important Kubernetes Concepts Made Easy

Introduction to Google Cloud - For AWS Professionals

Getting Started with Docker - 5 Easy Steps

GCP PubSub - GCP Certification Cheat Sheet

GCP IAM - GCP Certification Cheat Sheet

GCP App Engine - GCP Certification Cheat Sheet


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