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What Is Amazon Linux 2?

Posted on October 27, 2022 by

Categories: AWS


Since its introduction in 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing platform, has maintained a robust growth rate, making it the leading competitor in the industry.

The corporation developed its own Linux server operating system, Amazon Linux, to assist its clients in making the most of its cloud service. Because of its close integration with numerous Amazon Web Services (AWS) services, long-term support, and a compiler, build toolchain, and LTS Kernel tuned for better performance on Amazon EC2, Amazon Linux, which is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), stands out from other Linux distributions.

Amazon released Amazon Linux 2, the company’s second iteration of its Linux operating system, in December 2017. Like its predecessor, Amazon Linux 2 will get maintenance and security upgrades for five years, ending on June 30, 2023.

Many of Amazon’s clients’ complete infrastructure and apps are hosted on its cloud servers. Using an operating system built to seamlessly interact with Amazon’s cloud computing architecture and get the most performance out of it makes a lot of sense for these clients.

Unchanging Bleeding Edge

Customers may also take advantage of two advantages with Amazon Linux 2: ongoing support and access to the most recent releases of well-known software programs. To core packages, long-term support is applicable (whose complete list can be found on the Amazon Linux 2 FAQ page). For five years, Amazon has guaranteed to deliver security updates and bug fixes.

One significant drawback is that Amazon Linux 2 does not preserve kernel-space ABI compatibility. Thus, programs that depend on third-party kernel drivers may need extra adjustments if the upstream Linux kernel is changed to break ABI stability.

As of this writing, Linux Kernel 4.14 is the default kernel for Amazon Linux 2, which has long-term support from Amazon. However, users may quickly update to a Linux Kernel 4.19 optimized for AWS by downloading it from the Extras catalog, a collection of cutting-edge software that includes kernels, runtimes, toolchains, databases, web stacks, and more.

The Linux Kernel 4.19 may be installed with only one straightforward command:

You won’t be surprised to learn that Amazon Linux 2 is available as a Docker container image compatible with Amazon Elastic Container Service and as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for usage on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AmazonEC2) (Amazon ECS).

You might be surprised to learn that you can obtain virtual machine images for on-premises software testing and development using VMware, Oracle VM VirtualBox, and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Simply create a boot image with the necessary configuration data, download the Amazon Linux 2 virtual machine image for your preferred virtualization platform, then boot to your new VM to get Amazon Linux 2 up and running locally. Users only need to refer to the Amazon Linux 2 user manual for the first step.

The Linux user space was booted up and afterward managed by SysVinit in the earlier iteration of Amazon Linux.

Despite being straightforward and small, SysVinit wasn’t created to start the numerous processes that users have grown accustomed to using over time or cater to current users’ demands. Additionally, because SysVinit begins processes sequentially, it must wait for each process to load before moving on to the next. It takes a lot of effort and is not enjoyable to configure the load order of processes.

The system offers a dependency-based init system that can parallelize the Linux user space bootup. As a result, SysVinit performs far better than before. The system is a collection of fundamental building blocks for a Linux system since it has capabilities like on-demand starting of daemons, snapshot support, process tracking, and inhibitor locks.