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AWS Previews Linux-Based 'Bottlerocket' Container OS

Bottlerocket, a stripped-down Linux platform specifically designed to host containers, has debuted as a public preview from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS touts Bottlerocket as being "purpose-built" for containers, unlike general-purpose operating systems like the Amazon Linux server platform. General-purpose operating systems require updates to be applied one package at a time, AWS explained, whereas Bottlerocket features a "single-step update mechanism" that greatly simplifies the update process.

"Instead of a package update system, Bottlerocket uses a simple, image-based model that allows for a rapid & complete rollback if necessary," wrote AWS evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post announcing the public preview. "This removes opportunities for conflicts and breakage, and makes it easier for you to apply fleet-wide updates with confidence using orchestrators such as EKS [Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes]."

The simplicity of the Bottlerocket update model easily lends itself to automation, according to AWS. It also promises easy update rollbacks, fewer errors and overall reduced downtime.

AWS limited Bottlerocket's software components to just what is needed to run containers, the company said. Its FAQ lists the components thusly:

  • Minimal OS that includes the Linux kernel (5.4), system software, and containerd as the container runtime.
  • Atomic update mechanism to apply and rollback OS updates in a single step. 
  • Integrations with container orchestrators such as Amazon EKS to manage and orchestrate updates.
  • "Admin container" that can be optionally run for advanced troubleshooting and debugging.

Paring down Bottlerocket to the bare essentials means its attack surface and resource consumption are much smaller compared to general-purpose operating systems, AWS said.

Those interested in the Bottlerocket preview can find instructions here. More information is available here. General availability is expected "later in 2020," according to the FAQ.

About the Author

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

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