Alibaba ECS vs Amazon EC2 – The Differences

Alibaba ECS vs Amazon EC2 – The Differences & Comparisons & Pricing Info

When it comes to the cloud services, the first name that comes up in your mind is Amazon or Amazon Cloud Service a.k.a. “AWS.” If we have any strong competitor that can dethrone AWS as a clear leader, especially in China, is none other than Alibaba! They have recently launched the Alibaba Elastic Cloud Service or ECS competing with the EC2 service from Amazon. What are the differences between the two? How do they compare with each other? (Alibaba ECS vs Amazon EC2) Let us check out the in-depth details.

Amazon EC2 – An Overview

Source: AWS

Amazon EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud. It offers you a higher degree of scalability regarding the computing functionality. Opting for EC2 will help you develop your applications real faster as you do not need to invest in hardware.

You can use as many virtual servers as you would want to. Launch the servers as per your needs – may be a few at times, while growing in number as the need exceeds. What makes it more elastic is the lack of need to estimate the demand forecasting of the traffic. You can quickly scale up and down to handle them based on seasonality lows or spikes in your traffic.

Alibaba ECS – An Introduction

Source: AlibabaCloud

ECS from Alibaba ECS is a strong competitor to Amazon’s EC2. The Elastic Compute Service promises to provide you faster memory options and Intel CPUs to work with. It also gives you access to DDoS protection at the DMZ entry points.

Just the way, EC2 can handle the spikes and downs in the demands; the Alibaba ECS is also capable of scaling the capacity depending upon the need. It promises high data reliability and service availability. In case, the service faces downtime of any nature, and there is a provision to address the downtime migration.

Alibaba ECS vs Amazon EC2- The Things in Common

By virtue of belonging to the same genre of services, both Alibaba ECS and Amazon EC2 share a few standard features between themselves. Please note that we are comparing the Amazon EC2 with Alibaba ECS. The Amazon ECS is an entirely different service that acts as a container service on AWS.

The similarity between the Amazon EC2 and Alibaba ECS can be summed up with the following observations –

  • You can choose hundreds of instances in either of the services.
  • You can choose between the virtual servers and the physical (IAAS) servers. Both the services support it.
  • The services are compatible with a host of Windows and Linux based operating systems.
  • Both EC2 and ECS can create virtual images with easy steps.

Alibaba ECS vs Amazon EC2 – The Differences

Now, coming to the most crucial aspect of this discussion – how do they differ from each other? Well, there are not many significant differences as both of them provide services almost on an equal platform.

Alibaba has more instance types on offer. Amazon stays high on the number of regions covered. Alibaba ECS has only a few locations included in the US and Europe, with no footprint at all in South America. Amazon, on the other hand, has coverage that almost spans the globe including a few in Asia.

The Storage

They are almost similar to their offerings in terms of storage capabilities. In addition to the regular storage, both of them offer cold storage as well. The prices for the different storage tiers tend to be a little pricier on Amazon in comparison to the ones provided by Alibaba ECS.

The difference is quite a little and maybe minimal for most of the practical applications. But, for the record, yes – Amazon EC2 is a little expensive. The difference is evident across all storage modes.

The Instance pricing

Well, comparing them on the basis of prices for the instances may not be exactly possible. That is because the prices are dependent upon the individual instances and the instances available across both these services are not similar.

Alibaba ECS offers more instance options, while Amazon EC2 bundles its instances more coherently. Even then, based on a few cases that may be common between the two services – Amazon appears to be a little cost effective. This is with a consideration that you are paying only for the compute service.

The primary differential pricing that may come in under this discussion is Alibaba offers SSD storage along with its plans – for a few select instances. Amazon does not provide any storage. So, if you have to pay separately for the storage as part of your requirements, we would advise you go with Alibaba as Amazon would be a little costly.

Awareness and Presence

Well, if you are looking for the community support and knowledge of the platform, needless to say, Amazon EC2 rules the roost. In comparison, Alibaba may be entirely unheard of in the western region.

The documentation available for the English regions is also an issue with Alibaba. However, there have been signs to indicate that they are into an expansion mode already and striving for a footprint in the entire region.

Alibaba ECS vs Amazon EC2 – A Comparison

A tabulated comparison between the two options may provide a clear insight into the capabilities and shortcomings of the platforms.

Features/Comparison Amazon EC2 Alibaba ECS
Total regions 19 18
Complete Continent Coverage Yes No
Standard Compute Service EC2 ECS
Operating System Support Linux, Windows Linux, Windows
Physical Server Yes, available Yes, available
Pricing Models On-demand or reserved Monthly or pay as you go
Storage Service available Block, Object Block, Object
Instances Low Numbers Extensively available
Pricing Cost Effective Slightly expensive

The Concluding Thoughts

Both Alibaba ECS and Amazon EC2 offer services on the similar grounds. The functionality and features remain identical across both the competitors. The Amazon EC2 comes with a more extensive geographic coverage compared to the ECS service from Alibaba.

In any case, we can find that Alibaba is making attempts into expanding the services that it has been offering. We would expect the service provider to come up with extended service offerings and bring itself at par with the service like Amazon.

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