In yet another preview from AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services has announced a limited beta of Amazon EC2 Container Service, a scalable container management service, with aim of making it easy to run and manage distributed applications using containers on AWS.
Initially, the EC2 Container Service supports Docker with the ability to launch from one container to hundreds of thousands of containers across a managed cluster of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances.
Until now AWS customers have had to develop their own software or use open source tools that can allocate appropriate resources to each container, schedule container placement, and monitor deployed containers. The EC2 Container Service includes a set of APIs to run and manage containers, allowing developers to use the service and take advantage of the programmatic control and flexibility they use with other AWS services.
However while the solution automates some of the process it still fails to address many of the needs of the developer community, such as autoscaling and usage based billing as Richard Davies, CEO of cloud server company ElasticHosts explains;
"AWS may have announced closer integration with Docker containers, but this is still not fulfilling the technology's true potential to customers, as the containers still run inside VMs rather than natively on the physical hardware - the same limitation as Google's announcement last week.”
As Davies points out AWS customers have already been able to install Docker inside their own VMs for some time but what would really help rather than automation is a more sensible approach to billing.
“Essentially, customers running Docker containers inside Amazon VMs will still be charged by for the fixed size of each VM, which our research shows typically results in over-provisioning and over-paying by 50% compared to what is used. Unless providers like AWS and Google help create a fundamental shift in the way the cloud is delivered to embrace the full opportunity of native containers, we will never reach the utility based model of cloud commuting promised so long ago and the customer will never see the tangible benefits."