Amazon launches next Linux server OS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently launched Linux 2, with access to the latest 4.9 LTS kernel. According to the company, the newest version “provides a high performance, stable, and secure execution environment for cloud and enterprise applications.” The system includes five years of long-term security support and access to software packages through the Amazon Linux Extras repository. It is currently available for all AWS regions.

The move signals a pivot in Amazon’s cloud computing strategy. Former Amazon Linux distribution was limited to the company’s data centers. Sources indicate Amazon will enable its cloud customers to rent access to Linux 2 in addition to installing the operating system on its servers. Although, it should be noted users are unable to use it natively or on bare metal. A hypervisor, which allows users to host multiple virtual machines on a single piece of computer hardware, is needed to run it.

“Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate is available as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for use on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AmazonEC2), and as a Docker container image for use in any Docker based environment, including Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS),” said the company. “It is also available as virtual machine images for VMware, Oracle VM VirtualBox, and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization solutions for on-premises development and testing.”

Cloud computing rivals like Oracle and Microsoft have been attempting to compete with AWS, which currently dominates the public cloud market, with a hybrid cloud approach. Just this week, for example, Microsoft announced it is acquiring data storage startup company Avere Systems in an effort to bolster its hybrid cloud computing initiative. The technology offers a mix of conventional infrastructure, private cloud and public cloud, allowing users to forward workloads across multiple environments. Amazon’s Linux 2 attempts to counter this approach by making it easier for users to move workloads to its cloud.

AWS also introduced “Amazon Linux Extras” as part of the Linux 2 release. The extras encompass common applications, such as Python 3.6, Ansible 2.4.2, memcached 1.5, nginx 1.12, Postgresql 9.6, MariaDB 10.2, Go 1.9, Redis 4.0, R 3.4 and Rust 1.22.1. Users can install newer versions of Python as well. Other add-ons include databases and languages alongside any dependencies that may be required to run them.

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