Yesterday, Amazon Web Services announced that they are offering their own Amazon Linux AMI for EC2 customers. This will be available along with the large collection of other AMIs in EC2. The idea behind this AMI is to offer EC2 customers a lean AMI which is highly optimized for EC2 environment. The AMI is available for both 32 and 64 bit form and in all the AWS regions. This highlights one of the important roles played by Open Source in the Cloud based world. It offers the freedom to cloud vendors to offer fine tuned versions of Operating Systems to run on their cloud environment, something they can’t even dream off in the case of proprietary systems.
- They can offer really lean API which doesn’t complicate things for users.
- The fact that it doesn’t run unwanted services makes these APIs more secure than one plucked from third party vendors and the ones packaged by hobbyists.
- One of the cloud security concerns cited by Chris Hoff in his Cloudifornication talk at Gluecon last year was the use of AMIs that are not verified for its authenticity (like presence of trojans or rootkits). Even though I feel it is more of a common sense problem than a cloud problem, it is a pretty valid point. There are many who just download an AMI out of the internet and use it for their needs. By offering their own AMI, Amazon can assure users that it is a clean AMI and it could be established as a go to place for anyone who wants an AMI for their needs.
- By having their own repository for patches, Amazon could (at least in theory) patch these OSes running on their environment for security holes before the major Linux vendors do it.
- Python, Perl and PHP
- Apache HTTP Server
- MySQL and PostgreSQL databases
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