“Why do developers love containers?”

This is the question Werner Vogels, CTO and Vice President of Amazon.com, asked attendees of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas just before announcing the preview availability of EC2 Container Services (ECS) – the new service for managing Docker containers that boosts AWS support for hybrid cloud.

After answering his question with a listing of benefits such as ease of development management, portability between environments, lower risk in deployments, smoother maintenance and management of application components, and the ability for it all to work together, Vogel went on to talk about the challenges of working with containers. 

“It’s really hard, I find,” he said. “Scheduling containers requires a lot of heavy lifting.” For example, he noted issues such as placement for higher availability, dividing resources per container, launching, rolling back, and handling custom management. 

With ECS, he said, customers can get all the benefits of containers without the overhead.

What does ECS offer?

Describing ECS as a “highly scalable, high performance management service,” Vogel noted the following features: 

  • The ability to schedule containers for optimal placements, including per-container resource requirements
  • Isolation policies, which allow users to deploy different sets of containers to separate availability zones, ensuring high availability of applications
  • Improved resource efficiency (For example, the ability to run a mix of containers of instances, including long and short-running tasks)
  • Easy integration through simple API’s

AWS isn’t the first cloud provider to offer Docker’s open source engine support. Google has extended its support for Docker containers with its new Google Container Engine powered by its own Kubernetes, announced just last week during the Google Cloud Platform Live event. And, back in August, Microsoft announced its support for Kubernetes in managing Docker containers in Azure


Lots of Enthusiasm

During the AWS re:Invent conference, Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, expressed his enthusiasm for this latest partnership with Amazon, and how it will help support hybrid cloud. 

“The critical thing is, not only the technology, but that we do it in an open way so that all that portability and all of that ecosystem isn’t lost when you go from single container to multi-container,” he said. 

And that’s part of the reason why I’m so excited about the EC2 Container Service launch because it really does respect this notion of being integrated with Docker Hub, using native interfaces, and enabling app portability, not just with AWS, but between on-premise and AWS. That’s a fantastic thing, and it will result in tremendous benefits, not only for developers, but for companies."

The new EC2 Container Service is available free of charge, with customers paying only for the EC2 resources used.