CloudSpend-Cloud cost management

Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) is an extremely scalable and high-performing container orchestration solution that allows for the effortless execution, termination, and administration of Docker containers within a cluster. As more organizations embrace containerization, optimizing the costs of running containerized applications is essential, especially when using managed services like Amazon ECS.

This article will help you optimize AWS ECS costs by examining pricing components, rightsizing tasks and services, selecting optimal launch types, and minimizing data transfer and storage costs while utilizing state-of-the-art tools.

Understanding AWS ECS pricing components  

To optimize your AWS ECS costs, it’s essential to understand different pricing components associated with the service. ECS pricing mainly depends on the launch type you choose, in addition to other charges related to data transfer, container registry, and logs.

AWS Fargate pricing  

Fargate, a serverless compute engine for containers, simplifies infrastructure management and charges based on vCPU and memory usage. Billing is determined by vCPU hours and memory (in GB) consumed per hour by tasks and services.

Amazon EC2 pricing  

With the EC2 launch type for running containers, you manage instances and pay for infrastructure, with costs varying by instance type (e.g., T2, M5, R5). EC2 pricing models include On-Demand, Reserved Instances, Spot Instances, and Savings Plans, each with unique characteristics and use cases discussed in the following sections.

Besides Fargate and EC2 costs, there are additional charges to consider when using ECS:

● Data transfer: Data transfer fees apply when data is transferred between ECS tasks or services and other AWS services or out of AWS.

● Elastic Container Registry (ECR) storage: ECR is a managed container registry that simplifies storing, managing, and deploying Docker container images. You are billed for the storage space your container images use in ECR.

● Amazon CloudWatch logs: Amazon ECS integrates with CloudWatch to provide a centralized location for your container logs. CloudWatch charges are based on the volume of log data ingested, stored, and analyzed.

By understanding these different pricing components, you can make informed decisions when designing and managing your containerized applications on AWS ECS, which will ultimately help you optimize your costs.

Rightsizing your ECS tasks and services  

Rightsizing ECS tasks and services is essential for cost optimization, as it ensures the proper allocation of resources (vCPU and memory) based on actual application requirements. Avoid over-provisioning, which leads to unnecessary costs, and under-provisioning, which can impact performance and availability. Monitor resource usage with AWS CloudWatch to identify optimization areas.

After analyzing usage data, update task definitions with appropriate vCPU and memory allocations and implement auto-scaling policies to adjust running tasks based on demand. By rightsizing tasks and services and utilizing scaling strategies, you can use AWS ECS resources cost-effectively, only paying for what your applications need.

Choosing the optimal launch type: Fargate vs EC2  

Selecting the right ECS launch type is crucial for cost optimization. You can compare Fargate (a serverless compute engine) and EC2 (where you manage instances and infrastructure resources) in the following table:




Resource selection

Match CPU, memory, storage, networking needs

Choose instance types based on requirements

Cost predictability

Pay for vCPU and memory used

Varying costs based on instance type and pricing


Simplified infrastructure management

Hands-on management needed


Robust security features

Robust security features

Fargate is recommended for its simplified management, predictable costs, and rapid scaling. It’s suitable for microservices, event-driven workloads, and stateless applications.

EC2 is ideal for specific resource requirements, custom configurations, and more control—fitting resource-intensive, long-running workloads, and stateful applications. Evaluate these factors to optimize AWS ECS costs.

Optimizing EC2 instances and pricing models  

If you choose the EC2 launch type for your ECS tasks and services, optimizing your EC2 instances and pricing models to minimize costs is essential. This section will discuss strategies for selecting the right instance type and leveraging different pricing models for cost savings.

Selecting the correct instance type  

Analyze the resource requirements of your applications (CPU, memory, storage, and networking) and choose an instance type that best matches these needs. Remember that different instance types (e.g., T2, M5, R5) offer varying combinations of resources and costs. Regularly review your instance usage with AWS CloudWatch to identify opportunities for rightsizing your instances, ensuring you only pay for the resources your applications actually require.

Leveraging Spot Instances for cost savings  

Amazon EC2 Spot Instances enable you to place bids on unutilized EC2 resources, offering substantial savings in comparison to On-Demand pricing. These instances are well-suited for resilient, stateless, and adaptable tasks that can accommodate disruptions.

Using Reserved Instances and Savings Plans for predictable workloads  

Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances (RI) provide discounted pricing in exchange for committing to a specific instance type and usage period (one or three years). They are suitable for steady-state workloads with predictable resource requirements. Amazon Savings Plans offer discounts similar to RI but with additional flexibility in terms of instance type and usage. You commit to a specific amount of usage (measured in dollars per hour) for a one- or three-year period, and the discount automatically applies to any matching usage across your account.

Combining multiple pricing models for maximum cost efficiency  

Use a mix of On-Demand, RIs, Spot Instances, and Savings Plans to optimize costs for different workloads and requirements. For example, use On-Demand instances for short-term or unpredictable workloads, RIs or Savings Plans for predictable and steady-state workloads, and Spot Instances for fault-tolerant and flexible workloads.

Selecting the right instance type and effectively leveraging various EC2 pricing models can significantly optimize the costs of running your ECS tasks and services on EC2 instances.

Minimizing data transfer and storage costs  

In addition to optimizing compute resources, minimizing data transfer and storage costs associated with your ECS tasks and services is essential. This section will discuss best practices for reducing data transfer fees and optimizing ECR storage usage and CloudWatch logs.

● Minimize data transfer between tasks and services and between AWS regions or availability zones to reduce data transfer costs. Cache frequently accessed data using Amazon ElastiCache or Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration to minimize the amount of data transferred over the network.

● Create VPC endpoints for services like Amazon S3 and Amazon ECR to enable private connectivity between your ECS tasks and services and these AWS services. This can help you avoid data transfer fees associated with using public endpoints.

● Regularly review and remove unused or old container images in your ECR repositories to free up storage space and minimize storage costs.

● Use image scanning to identify and remove unnecessary files or layers in your container images, reducing the size of your images and the associated storage costs.

● Enable log compression and use log rotation policies in Amazon CloudWatch Logs to minimize the volume of log data stored and reduce storage costs. Consider using Amazon S3, Amazon S3 Glacier, or third-party log management solutions for long-term log storage and analysis, as they can offer more cost-effective storage options.

By implementing these best practices, you can minimize data transfer and storage costs associated with your ECS tasks and services, further optimizing your overall AWS ECS expenses.

Monitoring and analyzing ECS cost data  

● Regular monitoring and analysis of your ECS cost data are crucial for identifying cost-saving opportunities and ensuring ongoing expense optimization. Various tools and techniques exist for monitoring, analyzing, and managing your AWS ECS costs.

● Cost allocation tags

○ Tag ECS resources for better cost tracking

○ Gain visibility into expenses and improvement areas

● AWS Trusted Advisor

○ Real-time guidance and cost optimization recommendations

○ Identify underutilized resources and rightsizing opportunities

● Budgets and alerts

○ Set up budgets in AWS Budgets for resources, services, or tags

○ Receive alerts when costs exceed predefined thresholds

By leveraging these tools and techniques, you can continuously monitor and analyze your ECS cost data, ensuring that you remain aware of your expenses and can quickly identify and act upon cost-saving opportunities.

ManageEngine CloudSpend for ECS cost optimization  

ManageEngine CloudSpend is a third-party cloud cost management tool that can help you gain deeper insights into your AWS ECS costs and identify cost-saving opportunities. This section will explore how to leverage CloudSpend for monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing your ECS expenses.

Analyzing ECS costs with ManageEngine CloudSpend  

You can connect your AWS account to ManageEngine CloudSpend to import your cost and usage data. ManageEngine CloudSpend provides comprehensive reports and dashboards that enable you to visualize and analyze your ECS costs by service, resource, and tag.

● Setting budgets and alerts for ECS expenses: Use ManageEngine CloudSpend’s budgeting features to set up custom budgets for your ECS tasks, services, and other resources. Configure alerts to notify you when spending exceeds predefined thresholds, helping you proactively manage your ECS costs.

● Identifying cost-saving opportunities with ManageEngine CloudSpend recommendations: ManageEngine CloudSpend offers intelligent recommendations based on your ECS cost and usage data, helping you identify potential cost-saving opportunities. These recommendations may include rightsizing, deleting resources, or leveraging different pricing models to optimize costs.

● Continuously monitoring and optimizing ECS costs with ManageEngine CloudSpend: Regularly review your ECS cost data to identify trends, anomalies, and areas for improvement. Use ManageEngine CloudSpend’s reporting and analysis features to stay informed of your ECS expenses and make data-driven decisions to optimize costs.

● Using multi-currency support: ManageEngine CloudSpend supports multiple currencies, making it easier for global businesses to monitor their ECS costs in the currency of their choice. This eliminates manual conversions and provides a more accurate representation of the expenses for businesses operating in multiple regions.

● Granular-level tagging: With ManageEngine CloudSpend’s granular-level tagging, you can categorize your ECS resources based on various attributes such as application, environment, and department. This makes it easy to attribute costs to specific business units, projects, or teams, enabling more detailed cost tracking and analysis.

● Creating business units: ManageEngine CloudSpend allows you to define business units within your organization, such as departments or teams. This helps in the accurate allocation of costs, as you can assign resources to specific business units and track their ECS spending separately. This feature supports better financial management and accountability within your organization.

● Exploring resources with Resource Explorer: ManageEngine CloudSpend’s Resource Explorer provides a detailed view of all your ECS resources. You can sort, filter, and search your resources based on various parameters like cost, region, or tags. This helps with identifying high-cost resources, underutilized resources, and potential cost-saving opportunities.

By leveraging ManageEngine CloudSpend, you can gain a deeper understanding of your AWS ECS costs and identify cost-saving opportunities more effectively. This will help you maintain a cost-efficient ECS environment and ensure the ongoing optimization of your expenses.