AWS Auto Scaling and Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling

AWS Auto Scaling and Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling are essential tools for managing resource scalability in cloud environments. This guide provides an in-depth comparison of these solutions, their capabilities, use cases, costs, security concerns, availability, limitations, and alternatives. It also includes detailed “how to” sections for each solution and alternative to help you implement them effectively.


AWS Auto Scaling

AWS Auto Scaling is a unified scaling solution that allows you to automatically adjust capacity for multiple AWS services, ensuring high availability and cost efficiency.

Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling

Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling specifically manages the scaling of EC2 instances, maintaining application performance by adjusting the number of instances based on demand.

Capabilities Comparison

Feature AWS Auto Scaling Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling
Scope Multiple AWS services EC2 instances
Predictive Scaling Yes No
Dynamic Scaling Yes Yes
Scheduled Scaling Yes Yes
Cost Optimization Across services EC2 instance optimization
Health Checks Yes (depends on service) Yes
Mixed Instances Support Limited Yes

Cost Comparison

Solution Cost Considerations
AWS Auto Scaling Potential additional costs for services like DynamoDB and Aurora but overall cost optimization through efficient resource utilization.
Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling Primarily EC2 instance costs; cost efficiency through the use of mixed instance types and Spot Instances.

Security Concerns

Solution Security Concerns
AWS Auto Scaling Requires extensive IAM permissions for multiple services, increasing the security surface.
Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling Focused on EC2 security, primarily instance and network security.


Solution Limitations
AWS Auto Scaling Complexity in managing multiple services; requires proper configuration and permissions across services.
Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling Limited to EC2 instances; no built-in predictive scaling.


  1. Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
  2. AWS Lambda with DynamoDB
  3. Kubernetes with EKS
  4. Third-party Tools (e.g., HashiCorp Terraform, CloudHealth)

How to Implement AWS Auto Scaling

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Set Up AWS Auto Scaling

    • Navigate to the AWS Management Console.
    • Go to the AWS Auto Scaling dashboard.
    • Click on “Create scaling plan.”
  2. Define Scaling Plan

    • Select the resources you want to scale (EC2, ECS, DynamoDB, Aurora).
    • Configure predictive scaling settings if required.
    • Define dynamic and scheduled scaling policies.
  3. Configure Dynamic Scaling

    • Set target tracking policies for maintaining specific metric targets (e.g., CPU utilization).
    • Define step scaling policies for adjusting capacity based on thresholds.
    • Implement simple scaling policies for straightforward capacity adjustments.
  4. Monitor and Adjust

    • Use CloudWatch to monitor the performance of your scaling plan.
    • Adjust scaling policies based on application performance and cost considerations.

How to Implement Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Set Up EC2 Auto Scaling

    • Open the Amazon EC2 console.
    • Navigate to “Auto Scaling Groups.”
    • Click on “Create Auto Scaling group.”
  2. Define Auto Scaling Group

    • Choose the launch configuration or launch template that defines your EC2 instances.
    • Specify the group size (minimum, desired, maximum number of instances).
    • Configure network and subnet settings.
  3. Configure Scaling Policies

    • Target Tracking Scaling: Define target metrics like average CPU utilization.
    • Step Scaling: Set up policies for scaling in or out based on metric thresholds.
    • Simple Scaling: Configure basic rules for adding or removing instances.
  4. Set Up Health Checks

    • Enable EC2 instance health checks.
    • Configure Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) health checks if using ELB.
  5. Scheduled Scaling

    • Create scheduled actions for predictable demand changes (e.g., scale up at 6 PM on Fridays).
  6. Monitor and Adjust

    • Use CloudWatch to track the performance of your Auto Scaling group.
    • Adjust policies as needed based on performance metrics and cost efficiency.

Alternatives Implementation Guides

Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

  1. Set Up ELB

    • Open the EC2 console.
    • Navigate to “Load Balancers.”
    • Click “Create Load Balancer” and choose the type (Application, Network, or Classic).
  2. Configure Load Balancer

    • Define basic configuration (name, scheme, IP address type).
    • Configure listeners and routing.
  3. Register Targets

    • Add EC2 instances or other resources as targets.
    • Configure health checks.
  4. Set Up Auto Scaling (Optional)

    • Integrate with Auto Scaling groups for dynamic scaling based on load balancer traffic.

AWS Lambda with DynamoDB

  1. Set Up Lambda Function

    • Open the AWS Lambda console.
    • Click “Create function” and configure function details.
  2. Create DynamoDB Table

    • Open the DynamoDB console.
    • Click “Create table” and define key schema and settings.
  3. Configure Triggers

    • Set up DynamoDB triggers to invoke Lambda functions based on table events.
  4. Monitor and Adjust

    • Use CloudWatch to monitor Lambda performance.
    • Adjust function configuration and scaling settings.

Kubernetes with EKS

  1. Set Up EKS Cluster

    • Open the EKS console.
    • Click “Create cluster” and configure cluster settings.
  2. Deploy Applications

    • Use kubectl to deploy applications to the EKS cluster.
  3. Configure Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HPA)

    • Define HPA configurations to scale pods based on CPU or memory usage.
  4. Monitor and Adjust

    • Use CloudWatch and Kubernetes dashboards to monitor cluster performance.
    • Adjust HPA settings and cluster configurations as needed.

Third-party Tools (e.g., HashiCorp Terraform, CloudHealth)

  1. Set Up Tool

    • Install and configure the third-party tool.
    • Authenticate and connect to your AWS account.
  2. Define Infrastructure

    • Write infrastructure as code (IaC) scripts to define resources and scaling policies.
  3. Deploy and Monitor

    • Use the tool to deploy resources and apply scaling configurations.
    • Monitor resource performance and adjust IaC scripts as needed.


AWS Auto Scaling and Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling offer robust solutions for managing resource scalability in the cloud. Understanding their capabilities, costs, security concerns, and limitations can help you choose the right solution for your application needs. By following the detailed implementation guides provided, you can effectively set up and manage these scaling solutions to ensure high availability, performance, and cost efficiency for your applications.