AWS Previews Linux-Based Container OS Bottlerocket has been released as a public preview by Amazon Web Services (AWS). This stripped-down Linux platform is specifically designed to host containers. AWS claims that Bottlerocket is “purpose-built” to host containers, as opposed to general-purpose operating systems such as the Amazon Linux server platform. AWS explained that general-purpose operating systems require that updates be applied one at a time. Bottlerocket, however, has a “single step update mechanism” which greatly simplifies the process. AWS evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post that Bottlerocket’s public preview stated that instead of a package-based update system, it uses an image-based model that allows for a quick & complete rollback if needed. This eliminates the possibility of conflicts and breakage and makes it easier to apply fleet-wide updates confidently using orchestrators like EKS [Amazon Elastic Container Service For Kubernetes]. According to AWS, the simplicity of Bottlerocket’s update model lends itself to automation. It promises easy update rollbacks and fewer errors, as well as a reduced downtime. According to AWS, Bottlerocket was limited to the software components that are required to run containers. The FAQ lists the components as follows:

  • Minimal OS includes the Linux kernel (5.4), the system software and containerd as container runtime.
  • Atomic update mechanism to apply or rollback OS updates in one step.
  • Integrations with container orchestrators like Amazon EKS are possible to manage and orchestrate the updates.
  • An “Admin container” can be run to perform advanced troubleshooting or debugging.

AWS stated that by stripping Bottlerocket down to its essentials, its attack surface and resource consumption is much lower than general-purpose operating system. Instructions for the Bottlerocket preview are available here. More information is available here. According to the FAQ, general availability is expected “later this year.”