AWS Brings ECS, EFS Service Closer

Amazon Web Services (AWS) this week announced it has more tightly integrated its Elastic Container Service (ECS) with the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) to make it easier to deploy stateful containerized applications across multiple regions.

In addition, AWS revealed it has updated its Fargate managed service for ECS to include support for EFS and, as previously promised, has replaced Docker Engine with Containerd to provide a more efficient container execution engine.

Deepak Singh, vice president of compute services for AWS, says that while support for EFS on the ECS service has been available in preview for some time now, the integrations rolled out this week reduce any of the remaining friction between ECS, Fargate and EFS.

Singh says that in the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate at which applications are being deployed on the cloud has increased as part of a concerted effort to increase flexibility and resiliency while also lowering costs. In some cases, organizations are finding it easier to lift and shift legacy applications into the cloud by encapsulating them containers. That approach eliminates the need to refactor applications to run on a different virtual machine. Others may be moving applications along with the virtual machines they run on into the cloud, especially if that monolithic application doesn’t lend itself to being encapsulated in a set of containers.

The decision regarding which path organizations should pursue should be dictated by their IT skills and existing culture. Now may not be the right time to try and master all the nuances of container technologies overnight.

Singh also notes there has been an increase in new application development initiatives as well, as organizations roll up various digital business initiatives into a larger business continuity strategy. Most of those projects have been ongoing but there is now a greater sense of urgency. There are also several vertical industry segments, such as food delivery services, where the number of workloads running has substantially increased, says Singh.

Finally, Singh notes more organizations appear willing to rely on managed services provided by AWS versus continuing to manage IT infrastructure themselves. At a time when many organizations are re-evaluating their IT spending many more organizations are deciding to allocate their efforts almost exclusively to building applications versus trying to continue to manage increasingly complex infrastructure. Containers are really just a means to achieving a larger set of cloud computing goals, says Singh.

Regardless of the path chosen, it’s only a matter of time before containers play a much larger role in the enterprise as legacy applications move into the cloud. Even if an application can’t be encapsulated into containers today, many organizations will start to decompose that application into a set of more flexible microservices. The challenge, of course, will be developing the best DevOps practices required to achieve that goal. In fact, Singh says most organizations would be well-advised to focus on process and culture first if they really want to succeed in the age of the cloud.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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