AWS has just announced support for the open-source Docker technology on its Elastic Beanstalk PaaS, which allows developers to cede capacity provisioning, load-balancing, application health monitoring and other tasks for ease of use.
Docker is a technology that allows developers to write apps on their desktops then deploy or test these on another machine – such as a public cloud – without altering the code. Everything resides inside a “container”, which can be transferred from one environment to another with ease. Containerization is an alternative to virtualization, which shares a copy of the underlying OS for each virtualized app.
Supporting Docker means that AWS is making it easier for developers to use containerization in its public cloud.
“Today we are enhancing Elastic Beanstalk with the ability to launch applications contained in Docker images or described in Dockerfiles. You can think of Docker as an exciting and powerful new runtime environment for Elastic Beanstalk, joining the existing Node.JS, PHP, Python, .NET, Java, and Ruby environments,” wrote AWS in a blog post.
In a relatively short period of time Docker has been rapidly embraced by companies in Silicon Valley, gathering a large number of contributors – in contrast to previous containerization efforts such as Solaris Zones.
AWS says that admins will be able to run Docker images on its cloud by creating a Dockerrun.aws.json file to specify each app’s details. To create a private image, admins will need to create a .dockercfg file and reference it from the authentication section of the .json file. You can read AWS’ technical documents for more information on how it works.
This looks to be a smart move by AWS, as several rival companies have already come around to support Docker, including CenturyLink, DigitalOcean, and Red Hat. Notably though, rival platforms Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine are yet to offer support for Docker, though it is possible to run the technology on Linux images in both infrastructure-as-a-service products.
What with AWS jumping on the Docker bandwagon, this moves seems to validate Red Hat’s decision to make containerization a central focus of its own at the Red Hat Summit last week.