Few technologies in the virtualization space are as hyped as Docker containers are today. Many companies have made promises about products and services for Docker, including cloud giant Amazon, and now Amazon is making good on its promise.
Amazon first announced the EC2 Container Service (ECS) in November 2014 at its re:invent conference in Las Vegas. Amazon explains on its ECS product page that it is," … a highly scalable, high performance container management service that supports Docker containers and allows you to easily run applications on a managed cluster of Amazon EC2 instances."
At the Amazon Summit in San Francisco this week, the general availability of ECS was announced. Alongside the release announcement are a few new features that go beyond just the basic promise of being able to easily run Docker in the Amazon cloud.
"We have added some powerful new features including support for long-running applications, a shiny new Amazon ECS Console, and CloudTrail integration," Jeff Barr, Chief Evangelist at Amazon Web Services blogged. "We are also making Amazon ECS available in the Asia Pacific (Tokyo) region."
ECS in preview had been available in the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland) regions.
Barr explained that the long-running applications support includes a number of key features. Those features include the additional of a load balancer to the service scheduler in order to leverage Amazon's Elastic Load Balancing capabilities. There is now also a health management capability that will enable an administrator to recover a failed container.
Update management is another key feature that Amazon is adding to ECS.
"You can update your application by changing its definition or using a new image," Barr explained. "The scheduler will automatically start new containers using the new definition and stop containers running the previous version."
From a top-down perspective, Amazon has now also implemented a new administration console that provides a wizard for getting a Docker cluster up and running quickly. Going a step further, for auditing, ECS now integrates with Amazon's CloudTrail service that logs API calls for security and compliance tracking purposes.
From a pricing perspective, Amazon is still not charging users to use ECS itself. The way pricing works is that customers only pay for the compute or storage resources used to actually run an application an store data.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist
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