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Amazon Launches 'AWS Lambda' and Docker Container Service

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Inc. unveiled the Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS) with Docker support during Thursday's keynote at the AWS re:Invent conference, taking place this week in Las Vegas.

AWS chief technology officer Werner Vogels delivered the announcement, describing the new ECS as a "highly scalable, high-performance management service" for Docker containers. It will enable users to launch and terminate containers to clusters in EC2 instances, and promises to improve resource efficiency and scheduling, he said.

AWS evangelist Jeff Barr provided more information about ECS in a blog post Thursday. "This service will make it easy for you for run any number of Docker containers across a managed cluster of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances using powerful APIs and other tools," he wrote. "You do not have to install cluster management software, purchase and maintain the cluster hardware, or match your hardware inventory to your software needs when you use ECS. You simply launch some instances in a cluster, define some tasks, and start them. ECS is built around a scalable, fault-tolerant, multi-tenant base that takes care of all of the details of cluster management on your behalf."

The EC2 Container Service is currently available as a preview. It is free to use, though users will still have to pay for their EC2 resources. Those interested can register for the preview here.

AWS Lambda
The company also launched a preview of AWS Lambda, a new, event-driven, cloud-based application management service.

"With Lambda, you simply create a Lambda function, give it permission to access specific AWS resources, and then connect the function to your AWS resources," Barr explained in a blog post about the service. "Lambda will automatically run code in response to modifications to objects uploaded to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets, messages arriving in Amazon Kinesis streams, or table updates in Amazon DynamoDB."

Both Barr and Vogels touted Lambda's ease of use. The service runs automatically without the need to provision code, Vogels said during the keynote, while Barr called it a "zero-administration compute platform."

Lambda reacts to events from other AWS services, including DynamoDB, Kinesis and S3. Barr said in his blog that integration with more AWS services is in the works. Pricing for Lambda depends on the number of requests and the duration of compute time. The first 1 million requests each month are free, but every million thereafter will cost $0.20. Compute time is charged for every 100 milliseconds. However, a free tier is also available for up to 1 million requests and 3.2 million seconds of compute time each month.

The Lambda preview (registration here) is available out of AWS datacenters in Ireland, Oregon and Northern Virginia.

Other Announcements
Vogels shared a few other improvements to existing AWS services to cap off his keynote address:

  • AWS is introducing its fastest EC2 instance -- C4. The new instance is based on the Intel Haswell processor.

  • There are also two new Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes. General Purpose (SSD) supports up to 16TB of storage, 10,000 baseline IOPS and maximum throughput of 160Mbps. Provisioned IOPS (SSD) supports up to 16TB of storage, 20,000 IOPS and 320Mbps throughput.

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About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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