Amazon Web Services (AWS) still has a toe in the infrastructure business, if you were wondering.
This week’s announcements at AWS Re:Invent focused on topics such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or database migration. But a few moments of CTO Werner Vogels’ keynote on Thursday went further down the stack, into the realm of containers and virtual machines.
Containers and VMs
For starters, AWS containers are getting a managed registry to live in. A registry is a place to store Linux containers so they can be reused at will — meaning, commonly used containers can be grabbed from the registry and launched on demand. That AWS is now willing to manage registries for its users is a sign of how fervently containers are being adopted on the platform.
The registry won’t be available until later this year, but user can sign up for it today.
Other new features for containers include:
- A scheduler that’s aware of AWS’ availability zones, making it easier to run applications that use containers in multiple zones
- Integration with AWS Compose, so that you can describe an application’s layout in Compose and have AWS launch the appropriate Docker containers
- A command-line interface similar to “other Docker command-line tools,” as Vogels described it.
Containers might be cool, but AWS customers still make heavy use of virtual machines, particularly for operations involving databases or Big Data analysis, Vogels said.
So, AWS also announced new VM instances catering to the high- and low-end uses. The X1 instance, to be available in the first half of 2016, is based on the Intel Xeon E7 V3 processor, providing 2 TB of memory and up to 100 virtual processor cores. On the other end of the spectrum, the t2.nano instance, coming available later this year, provides just 512 MB of memory.
The Lambda Life
Last year saw the introduction of AWS Lambda, the service that lets customers run functions without having rented a server; AWS picks which server the function will run on. The idea is to string together these functions, using them as building blocks for complex tasks.
Developers began asking for more features from the minute they got Lambda into their hands Vogels said. Some of those got announced Thursday:
- Support for the Python language, the outcry for which began almost immediately, Vogels said
- Support for Lambda in AWS’ virtual private cloud (VPC)
- Longevity, so that functions can last up to five minutes
- Custom retry logic.