Is ECS the Same as Docker?

The AWS elastic container service and docker both work with containers. But they are “NOT” the same. Despite the fact that the docker and ECS work with the container, the nature of the work they possess is different.

This guide will explain the difference between AWS ECS and Docker.

How are ECS and Docker Different From Each Other?

A docker container is an open platform used to develop, ship, run, manage, and update applications in a container. The containers in which the applications are run with the help of docker are completely independent of the operating system. The containers are stored and used inside the virtual machines on a system so that they do not need the interference of the operating system. There can be multiple containers inside a single Virtual Machine.

On the other hand, the AWS ECS or Elastic Container Service is one of the Amazon cloud computing services that is used to launch and manage the docker containers. The ECS manages the docker containers in such a way that it adds and eliminates the container according to the need. This means that when the workload increases, it automatically adds a container, and when the workload decreases, it eliminates or deletes some containers accordingly.

How Does ECS Work?

ECS is not the docker container. Rather it supports docker. Using the AWS Elastic Container Service requires signing up for the AWS account to deploy and manage scalable applications in the Cloud environment. The servers used by AWS ECS to manage applications are called clusters that work through API calls and task definitions:

The developer simply launches the clusters (servers used in ECS) and specifies certain tasks to be performed. Users need to define tasks in AWS ECS, i.e., specifications of containers, memory and CPU requirements, repositories of the docker, method of communications, and connection between the containers.

ECS works with the ECR (Elastic Container Registry) or any other user-defined repository and then lets the user select the images and the resources for the applications to launch the containers. After that, the AWS ECS itself manages the containers for availability, as explained above.

How Does Docker Work?

The developers can create containers without the involvement of docker, but the reason why docker has become so a commonly used service is that it makes the process of creating containers and running applications in it faster, more reliable, and more secure:

Docker provides a standard way to run the code. Docker is installed on servers, and it provides commands to let the developers build, start or stop the containers.


A docker container is a platform that develops, ships, runs, manages, and updates the applications in a container. On the other hand, Amazon ECS is the AWS cloud service that scales the applications in the containers and manages the containers for availability. And AWS ECS supports the use of docker images to form tasks. So, they are different platforms or services used to work with containers and repositories.

About the author

Hadia Atiq

A Software Engineer and Technical Writer passionate about learning and spreading knowledge of the latest technology. I utilize my writing skills to help readers understand the importance and usage of modern technology.