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Introduction

If you’re searching for a container management solution, you’ve likely heard a few names over and over again, including AWS Fargate and Amazon EKS. While both are part of the Amazon Web Services ecosystem, there are important differences between Fargate and EKS that you should know about.

In this Fargate vs. EKS comparison, we’ll go over the two tools’ features, use cases, pricing, and more, so that you can come to the decision that’s best for your organization.

IronWorker is a powerful, flexible container management tool that makes it easy to scale thousands of containers up and down in the cloud and on-premises. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help with your container management needs.

Table of Contents

AWS Fargate vs. EKS: Basics

AWS Fargate is a serverless compute engine that runs containers in the AWS public cloud. Fargate is intended to be used not in isolation, but together with a full-fledged container orchestration service such as Amazon ECS or Amazon EKS.

Amazon EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) is one of two options for container orchestration services in the AWS public cloud, along with Amazon ECS. In particular, ECS is Amazon’s own proprietary container orchestration service, while EKS is explicitly for the open-source Kubernetes orchestration system.

AWS Fargate vs. EKS: Features

The most important feature of AWS Fargate is that it’s a serverless offering. The term “serverless computing” refers to the ability to automatically spin up and terminate servers on which your applications run, instead of having to manage and provision them yourself. As a serverless solution for container management, Fargate lets you focus on developing your applications rather than the technical details of deploying them.

Amazon EKS is a fully managed Kubernetes service that dramatically simplifies the process of running Kubernetes on AWS. The features of Amazon EKS include:

  • Managed control plane: Amazon EKS offers a fully managed control plane (the part of a Kubernetes cluster that monitors and oversees the nodes in the cluster), automatically handling availability and scalability concerns.
  • Networking and security: EKS includes a wide range of security features: IAM authentication, VPC (virtual private cloud) support, and more.
  • Windows and Linux support: Amazon EKS is compatible with both the Windows and Linux operating systems, including both Windows and Linux nodes in the same cluster.
  • Load balancing: EKS automatically performs load balancing using the AWS Elastic Load Balancing feature, distributing traffic across multiple instances, containers, and availability zones.

AWS Fargate vs. EKS: Pros and Cons

Because AWS Fargate and Amazon EKS are often used in combination with each other, they share many of the same pros and cons. What’s more, many of the “pros” of Fargate and EKS can also be seen as “cons,” depending on the specifics of your situation.

The pros of Fargate and EKS include:

  • AWS ecosystem: AWS Fargate and Amazon EKS are just two pieces of the vast Amazon Web Services public cloud. This gives you a great deal of choice and flexibility: for example, you can keep using Fargate but switch from EKS to ECS, if it best suits your needs. If you’re already an AWS customer, adding Fargate and/or EKS to your workflow is an easy choice.
  • User-friendliness: Fargate describes itself as a convenient, user-friendly option that makes it easy to get up and running with serverless containers in the cloud. This is a big selling point for customers who are less technically experienced with AWS containers, or who don’t want to deal with these issues day in, day out. However, using Fargate also entails sacrificing a good deal of fine-grained control over your servers and containers. To fix this issue, many AWS customers instead use EKS with Amazon EC2.

The cons of Fargate and EKS include:

  • Steep learning curve: If you’re not already an AWS customer, trying to get started in order to use Fargate and/or EKS is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Many AWS services are notorious for being challenging to use. According to one EKS reviewer on the business software review website G2, “the platform is quite difficult to be used by non-technical people.”
  • Vendor lock-in: The risk of vendor lock-in is always a concern when using public cloud services like AWS. For example, migrating data into AWS is free, but users are charged fees (sometimes quite steep) to transfer data out of AWS to a third-party location. Using Fargate and/or EKS means that you sacrifice a good deal of flexibility in exchange for the convenience of serverless computing and access to the AWS ecosystem.

AWS Fargate vs. EKS: Pricing

AWS Fargate pricing is fairly transparent and straightforward: you are charged based on the amount of CPU and memory resources you use, without any overhead fees. As of writing, the costs of AWS Fargate in the US East region were as follows:

  • $0.04048 per vCPU per hour
  • $0.004445 per gigabyte per hour

Some AWS Fargate customers have complained that Fargate pricing is substantially more expensive than performing container management themselves. Note that you can significantly reduce your AWS Fargate costs by using “spot pricing,” which offers cheaper prices in exchange for occasionally allowing AWS to interrupt your tasks.

Amazon EKS pricing, meanwhile, depends on your setup and configuration. The cost of creating and running an EKS cluster is $0.10 per hour. In addition, if you use EKS together with Fargate, you will be charged the prices above, on top of this EKS overhead. EKS can also run in the cloud with Amazon EC2 and on-premises with AWS Outposts, which each have their own pricing models.

AWS Fargate vs. EKS Alternatives

When used together, AWS Fargate and EKS can be a powerful combination for container management and orchestration. However, they’re far from the only options available when it comes to the best container management tools.

IronWorker is a hosted solution for background job processing that, like AWS Fargate, offers serverless container management. The benefits of using IronWorker include:

  • Power and scalability: When it comes to sheer power, IronWorker is able to compete with more prominent offerings like Fargate and EKS. IronWorker is used by some of the world’s busiest websites to help increase speed, efficiency, and scalability. According to Harlow Ward, lead developer at HotelTonight, IronWorker “gives us a quick and easy mechanism for deploying and managing all our Ruby workers. They have excellent dashboards for reporting worker status, giving us great visibility over the current state of our pipeline.”
  • Flexible deployment options: Using AWS Fargate and/or EKS limits you to the AWS public cloud—which can be an issue if you ever want to migrate away from AWS in the future. IronWorker offers the ultimate in flexible deployment options: you can execute containers in the public cloud, on-premises, on a dedicated server, or with a hybrid option that combines the cloud and on-premises.
  • Excellent support: Getting started with AWS can be challenging and intimidating for users who are new to the platform. IronWorker offers a gentle learning curve, including a development center packed with training videos and code samples and “white-glove” support for large enterprises with complex needs.

Conclusion

In this AWS Fargate vs. Amazon EKS comparison, we’ve discussed the most important differences between these container management solutions, including:

  • Use cases: AWS Fargate is explicitly intended for serverless container management to simplify the tasks of container deployment and monitoring. Amazon EKS is compatible with Fargate, but can also be used with Amazon EC2 or on-premises with AWS Outposts.
  • Features: Amazon EKS includes additional functionality on top of Fargate such as load balancing, scheduling, and networking and security features.
  • Pricing: AWS Fargate uses a “pay as you go” model with no overhead, while Amazon EKS pricing will depend on whether you use Fargate, EC2, or AWS Outposts.

Looking for a Fargate and EKS alternative that’s powerful, scalable, and flexible with excellent support? Give IronWorker a try with a 14-day no-risk free trial. Contact our team today for a chat about your business needs and objectives.

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