Manage and Operate ECS – What is the ECS?

Introduction to ECS

Understand the advantages of a server. Learn how to purchase an ECS on Alibaba Cloud, manage the server on our console, critical data and ensure your system can adjust according to your business needs.

Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provides fast memory and the latest CPUs to help you to power your cloud applications and achieve faster results with low latency.

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What is ECS?

Elastic Compute Service (ECS) is a high-performance, stable, reliable, and scalable IaaS-level service provided by Alibaba Cloud. It is more convenient and efficient compared with physical servers. You can immediately acquire ECS instances and scale computing resources on-demand. ECS provides a variety of instance types that suit various business needs and help boost business growth.

Why ECS?

ECS provides the following benefits:

  • You do not have to purchase hardware or construct data centers up front.
  • Instances are delivered within minutes, enabling rapid deployment and reducing time to market.
  • You can make use of resources in data centers and BGP grids around the world.
  • You can scale and release resources based on actual business needs.
  • Provides heterogenous computing servers such as GPU, FPGA, bare metal servers, and general x86 servers.
  • You can use ECS to access other Alibaba Cloud services over the internal , reducing traffic costs.
  • Provides a host of solutions, such as virtual firewalls, permission control, internal network isolation, virus protection, and traffic throttling.
  • Provides a performance monitoring framework and proactive O&M systems.
  • Provides standardized APIs to improve ease of use and applicability.

For more benefits, see Benefits of ECS and Scenarios.


ECS comprises the following major components:

  • Instance: a virtual computing environment that includes basic computing components such as CPU, memory, operating system, bandwidth, and disks. The computing performance, memory specifications, and applicable scenarios of an instance are determined by its instance type. The performance of an instance is determined by its vCPUs, memory capacity, and network performance.
  • Image: provides the operating system, initial application data, and pre-installed software for instances. Multiple Linux operating systems and Windows Server operating systems are supported.
  • Block storage: a block storage device that features high performance and low latency. Distributed storage architecture-based cloud disks, and physical storage-based local disks can be used.
  • Snapshot: a stateful data file of a cloud disk or shared block storage at a certain point in time. It is often used to back up and restore data, and to create custom images.
  • Security group: a logical group of instances located in the same that have the same security requirements and require access to each other. A security group works as a virtual for the ECS instances inside it.
  • Network: services provide you a highly stable, low latency, and high-speed network with flexible hybrid cloud connections.

For more information, see Elastic Compute Service.

The following figure shows the architecture of ECS components. For more information about the functional components in the figure, see the related documentation.


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