Are you running AWS on the original Amazon Linux AMI?
Good news, you’ve won a major reprieve from plans to end support for the operating system this summer, with the cloud provider bowing to “customer feedback” and agreeing to extend end-of-life to December 31, 2020.
AWS had planned to phase out support by June, but push-back from customers has seen it extend that date by six months; and add a minimal three-year maintenance support period to June 30, 2023 for good measure.
Maintenance will be limited: users of the 10-year-old AMI (Amazon Machine Image) will only get critical and important security updates for a reduced set of packages, with no guaranteed support for new AWS features.
AWS still wants users to migrate to Amazon Linux 2, saying “we strongly encourage you to use it for your new applications.”
AWS Linux AMI
Those considering the change should be aware of some notable differences.
As Claudonaut’s Michael Wittig notes: “Amazon Linux uses SysVinit to bootstrap the Linux user space and to manage system processes after booting. This procedure is usually called init.
“One of the major drawbacks of SysVinit is that it starts tasks serially, waiting for each to finish loading before moving on to the next. This can result in long delays during boot. Amazon Linux 2 uses systemd as the init system.
"systemd executes elements of its startup sequence in parallel, which is faster than the traditional serial approach from SysVinit. systemd can also ensure that a service is running (e.g., it restarts a service if it crashed).
This changes the entire software bundle around the process, including replacing syslog with journaldand the /dev directory with udevd as the device manager for the Linux kernel.
As one commentator notes in a Reddit channel debate on the migration: “The switch to systemd (and IMHO, journald) is huge and at the very least will require you to retrain your muscle memory and the way you think about approaching problems. I.e., type X instead of Y.”
No doubt many users will also be consider RHEL, Ubuntu or other offerings: Amazon Linux 2’s advocates in turn say they favour it as it is optimised for AWS hypervisors, supports AWS features without manual configuration and comes with all AWS tooling and daemons pre-installed.
Wherever you sit, you have at least six more months to plan…