What is the Difference Between EC2 and EMR?

AWS EC2 service offers the user to create a virtual machine that is running on the cloud without using any of the user’s resources. Amazon EMR makes deploying distributed file system frameworks like Hadoop, Hive, etc easy, cost-effective, and decouples compute and storage services. EMR cluster launch asks the user to create EC2 instances on the AWS platform.

Let’s start with Amazon EC2 and EMR services.

What is AWS EC2?

Amazon EC2 is a compute cloud service which is used to create and use virtual machines called “Instances” on the cloud. The user can create a virtual machine on the local machine using the AWS cloud provider and use these instances to work on different machines like Linux, Windows, etc. the user can create his Image of the Machine using the AMI section on the EC2 dashboard:

Features of EC2

Following are some of the key features of Amazon EC2 service:

Instances: These are Virtual machines that a user can create on the EC2 dashboard and use on the local machine using the AWS cloud provider.

EBS: It is an Elastic Block Storage that is attached by default when the instance is created and the user can create multiple storage and attach them to the instance.

Pricing: This service charges for the instances used per second by the user on the EC2 platform and for long-term instances, the user can pay in USD per hour use of the instance:

What is AWS EMR?

AWS EMR has all the big data analysis tools like Hadoop, Apache Spark, Hive, etc installed on it, and it is working on the cloud. Amazon EMR cluster does not use the resources of the local machine (Laptop, Computer, etc) however, it is using cloud resources for which the user has to pay. The user can create single or multiple nodes somewhere on the cloud using the AWS EMR service:

Features of EMR

Following are some of the key features of Amazon EMR service:

Cluster Resource Management: The user can create multiple clusters on Amazon EMR service having the service managing them on the cloud:

Data Processing framework: on launching the EMR cluster, the service asks the user to choose the data processing framework for the cluster and each cluster is processed like a unit.

Pricing: Its pricing model depends on the type of EC2 instances being used. The user can save a lot of cost by choosing the right instance for the EMR service:

EC2 vs EMR

EMR is just an Amazon service built on top of AWS EC2 to create distributed map-reduce jobs easier to perform. The user does not have to set up a distributed compute cluster as it is a managed service on the cloud. The pricing model of the AWS EMR also depends upon the EC2 service as it’s based on the number of instances used for the EMR cluster.


EC2 is Amazon’s cloud service that is used to create a virtual machine on the cloud without using any resource from the user’s system. EMR service is used to create clusters having big data analysis tools installed on them to manage huge amounts of data on the cloud. The EMR cluster is created on top of the EC2 instance and its pricing model also depends on the type of EC2 instances used.

About the author

Talha Mahmood

As a technical author, I am eager to learn about writing and technology. I have a degree in computer science which gives me a deep understanding of technical concepts and the ability to communicate them to a variety of audiences effectively.