AWS Fargate Pricing and Alternatives

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Introduction to AWS Fargate

Many types of software and vendor services vie for attention in the world of container management. That's abundantly true in the field of container management. Here, as in other areas of IT, big vendors have rolled out their name brand products to try to grab market share. For example, AWS pushes AWS Fargate as an option.

AWS Fargate is the next generation of AWS EC2. It's a tool for serverless container management. AWS Fargate allows developers to simply work up a container and deploy it with ease of use and convenience. Some also use it to connect to object storage systems such as S3.

AWS Fargate Pricing Breakdown

There are several factors in how AWS Fargate pricing works:

  • Amount of CPU resources – Users may pay more for larger systems that have higher CPU running over a given amount of time. In order to calculate the amount you will be paying for CPU depends on the amount of time, the percentage of vCPU being used, and the amount of GB's being used. For instance, if you have used 5 hours worth of service and are using 0.5GB, your vCPU will be calculated as follows: 5x0.25vCPUx0.5GB=$0.071 USD.
  • Amount of memory resources – Users may also pay more for an AWS Fargate project with larger instances using more RAM. Using the same example above, you would be paying $0.013 for RAM.
  • Time running – Importantly, AWS Fargate charges for the hours when the container workloads are running, not the hours when the virtual machine itself is running. That means that users get savings if their containers don't run as long. (Actually, AWS Fargate bills “per second,” but many users choose to rely on a per-hour cost basis for convenience.).

This per-hour pricing can make project estimates difficult. Developers might have to think about considerations like:

  • Whether the serverless container project is just being used for quick cleanups or batch handling or running in the background 24/7
  • What kind of buy-in they have for long-term operation from different departments that are involved (and how well the top brass understands the pricing model)
  • What kinds of resources their containers require in terms of CPU and RAM Serverless Tools

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AWS Compute Savings Plans

Importantly, AWS Fargate changed its costs in 2019, cutting some project costs down as much as 35%, with something called the Compute Savings Plan.

These types of plans cover both EC2 and AWS Lambda, as well as AWS Fargate. Amazon describes them this way:

“In exchange for a commitment to a consistent amount of usage (measured in $/hour) for a 1 or 3-year term. When you sign up for a Savings Plan, you will be charged the discounted Savings Plans price for your usage up to your commitment.”

That doesn’t change the calculus around how AWS Fargate is billed. Third-party analysts have put together detailed graphs showing whether EC2 or AWS Fargate breaks cheaper for a given project based on the container reservation rate, or the number of resources reserved for the container within the broader system.

Alternatives to AWS Fargate

When you seek out alternatives to AWS Fargate like IronWorker, you see how significant savings can apply.

Like AWS Fargate, IronWorker is a “compute engine” meant to help developers work with containers without an in-depth lack of server knowledge.

IronWorker leads the pack with broad and effective support, excellent service, and competitive pricing. Check out a 14-day free trial of this comprehensive resource for running containers with the versatility that you need

However, IronWorker charges by the month, with a free 14-day trial, so the initial cost will be relatively low, and can be markedly lower than using AWS Fargate with all of its convenience features built-in. With a “hobby price” of $24/month for one concurrency and 5 hrs/month with 256 MB of RAM, IronWorker would be significantly less than AWS Fargate for many types of projects, especially those that run 24/7, around the clock, or even most of the way around the clock.

As a serverless container management compute engine, IronWorker provides significant benefits beyond pricing, such as:

  • Key support features mean that development teams feel well served and that they can move forward with confidence, no matter what their architecture looks like or how they have provisioned containers (with some caveats!)
  • A DevOps philosophy allows for agile workload modernization and bringing systems toward a desired state.
  • The simplicity of IronWorker allows developers to tackle the learning curve right away, and master their environments more quickly.

Modern virtualization projects may have to “wear a lot of hats,” with attention to immediate business value as well as long term scaling. That’s when you need to have capable tools with good support, not just the best penny-pinching.


AWS Fargate and IronWorker: Other Context Factors

Some point out that AWS Fargate can be cheaper than EC2. True, but it also depends on many of the above factors. Dev teams will have to do the math to be on top of the cost factor and to defend their choices to gatekeepers.

Then there's the option to use AWS Lambda for serverless computing.

This essentially involves ordering sets of computing functions from the vendor. Using AWS Lambda is an abstraction that fits some task models, but for other teams, it may be “too much, too soon,” with a more subtle strategy involving virtualizing container instances.

IronWorker remains one of the easiest options for agile container systems. The platform makes it easy to scale, and easy to build for tomorrow, without an unreasonable impact on either CAPEX or OPEX costs. It’s part of the smart builder’s toolkit in the “age of Kubernetes,” where logical hardware systems are evolving quickly. The cloud is becoming a dominant method of vendor service implementation, and teams are looking toward new efficiencies with compute-storage solutions.

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