Amazon EC2 Container Service
Developer Guide (API Version 2014-11-13)

Container Instance Draining

There are times when you might need to remove an instance from a cluster; for example, to perform system updates, update the Docker daemon, or scale down the cluster size. Container instance draining enables you to remove a container instance from a cluster without impacting tasks in your cluster.

When you set a container instance to DRAINING, Amazon ECS prevents new tasks from being scheduled for placement on the container instance. If the resources are available, replacement service tasks are started on other container instances in the cluster. Service tasks on the container instance that are in the PENDING state are stopped immediately.

Service tasks on the container instance that are in the RUNNING state are stopped and replaced according to the service's deployment configuration parameters, minimumHealthyPercent and maximumPercent.

  • If minimumHealthyPercent is below 100%, the scheduler can ignore desiredCount temporarily during task replacement. For example, desiredCount is four tasks, a minimum of 50% allows the scheduler to stop two existing tasks before starting two new tasks. If the minimum is 100%, the service scheduler can't remove existing tasks until the replacement tasks are considered healthy. If tasks for services that do not use a load balancer are in the RUNNING state, they are considered healthy. Tasks for services that use a load balancer are considered healthy if they are in the RUNNING state and the container instance they are hosted on is reported as healthy by the load balancer.

  • The maximumPercent parameter represents an upper limit on the number of running tasks during task replacement, which enables you to define the replacement batch size. For example, if desiredCount of four tasks, a maximum of 200% starts four new tasks before stopping the four tasks to be drained (provided that the cluster resources required to do this are available). If the maximum is 100%, then replacement tasks can't start until the draining tasks have stopped.

For more information, see Service Definition Parameters.

Any PENDING or RUNNING tasks that do not belong to a service are not affected; you must wait for them to finish or stop them manually.

A container instance has completed draining when there are no more RUNNING tasks (although the state remains as DRAINING). You can verify this using the ListTasks operation with the containerInstance parameter.

When you change the status of a container instance from DRAINING to ACTIVE, the Amazon ECS scheduler can schedule tasks on the instance again.

Draining Instances

You can use the UpdateContainerInstancesState API action or the update-container-instances-state command to change the status of a container instance to DRAINING.

The following procedure demonstrates how to set your instance to DRAINING using the AWS Management Console.

To set your instance to DRAINING using the console

  1. Open the Amazon ECS console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Clusters and select the cluster.

  3. Choose ECS Instances and select the check box for the container instances.

  4. Choose Actions, Drain instances.

  5. After the instances are processed, choose Done.