Amazon Web Services (AWS) this week made generally available an instance of the Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) that can run in on-premises IT environments.
Scott Sanchez, head of product marketing for containers and serverless for AWS, says with Amazon ECS Anywhere, organizations can rely on AWS to manage a platform for building and deploying container applications in a local data center, on its public cloud or across a hybrid cloud computing environment.
Amazon ECS is based on a proprietary container orchestration platform that predates the rise of Kubernetes. More than 100,000 customers continue to use the service, which until now was available only on the AWS public cloud.
Amazon ECS Anywhere extends an AWS effort to, in effect, become the DevOps team for deploying applications. Rather than building and maintaining a DevOps platform, Sanchez says, developers now can create an activation key to register their virtual machines or bare metal servers, install the AWS Systems Manager agent and Amazon ECS Anywhere agent on their on-premises servers, and then deploy and manage their applications using Amazon ECS Anywhere as the control plane for managing the environment. That capability follows the arrival of a managed AWS App Runner service for building container applications.
Developers can now also move containers between instances of Amazon ECS running on-premises, including edge computing platforms running AWS Outpost software, and the AWS public cloud to create a hybrid cloud computing environment, adds Sanchez. Regardless of where Amazon ECS runs, organizations now can focus more of their efforts on writing code rather than managing infrastructure, he notes. AWS will take on all the heavy lifting associated with managing the IT environment on their behalf with no upfront payments required, just like any other cloud service, says Sanchez.
As AWS and other cloud service providers extend their reach into on-premises IT environments, the line between public and private cloud computing environments will continue to blur. The issue that organizations will need to come to terms with is the degree to which they want to rely on a service to manage their IT environment versus continuing to manage what has become a highly distributed computing environment made up of multiple clouds.
It’s also worth noting that organizations that have opted to employ multiple public cloud computing platforms won’t be able to take advantage of a single Amazon ECS control plane across all those environments just yet. In contrast, Kubernetes makes it possible to employ application programming interfaces (APIs) to create a control plane for a heterogeneous hybrid cloud computing environment. That Kubernetes control plane can be accessed as either a managed service or deployed by an internal IT team. Of course, IT teams can move a container application to any platform as they best see fit.
It’s not clear to what degree organizations are ready to give up managing IT infrastructure resources themselves. However, as they continue to realize the degree to which they are dependent on software to differentiate themselves from rivals, the more pressure there is to deliver code faster. The challenge, of course, is finding a way to build, deploy and manage all that software in a way that allows organizations to retain control over their IT destiny.