AWS Gives Customers On-Premises Linux Option

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Amazon Web Services recently expanded its menu of cloud services to give customers the option of using the Amazon Linux AMI on premises.

Customers can use the Amazon Container Image on premises for the purpose of developing and testing workloads, AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr explained.

The AMI provides a stable, secure and high-performance environment for applications running on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, he said.

"It is built from the same source code and packages as the AMI and will give you a smooth path to container adoption," Barr noted. "You can use it as is or as the basis for your own images."

The AMI has a very respectable security profile, he pointed out, with limited remote access, including no root login and mandatory SSH key pairs, as well as a very small number of noncritical packages installed.

The move to add this option was significant, according to an Amazon official who asked not to be identified.

"Our container aims to make customer processes more efficient by staging their work on premises before bringing it into AWS," the official told LinuxInsider. "Our road map reflects customer asks, and we will continue to listen to our customers and help meet their needs the best we can."

"At a high level, this is a move by AWS to focus on the developer community and be a little more integrated and be less of a 'bag of parts' service," said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

This move will serve to take some of the steam out of developer requests for Ubuntu 16:04 LTS on EC2, he told LinuxInsider. In addition, it probably will cause less of an impact to Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2, as RHEL caters more to the needs of mainstream enterprise customers.

"Amazon Linux AMI lets customers who just want to stand up a service do that without having to deal with maintaining their own OS deployment," Teich added. "Think of Amazon Linux AMI on EC2 as a half step to containers, in that developers will write to Amazon's generic Linux distro without having to think about any of the underlying plumbing."

Amazon has been taking major steps in recent months to broaden its cloud-related business against fierce competition from Microsoft, IBM and other companies trying to play catch-up as enterprise customers continue to migrate much of their business to cloud environments.

"Amazon is aiming more at enterprise customers and production uses with moves such as its recent partnership with VMWare and the on-premises Linux option," noted Jay Lyman, research manager for cloud management and containers at 451 Research.

Amazon last month announced an alliance with VMware to create a hybrid option that lets customers run applications across the VMware vSphere-based public, private and hybrid cloud environments, he told LinuxInsider.

The new service will be available by mid-2017.

"This also highlights the hybrid, multicloud model, which is increasingly attractive to enterprises that want to take advantage of public cloud resources," said Lyman, "but still want to address security, data and other needs with on-premises infrastructure."

David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain's New York Business and The New York Times.

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