Cloud is already starting to smell a lot like legacy technology.
That may seem an odd thing to suggest, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just made it plain by citing customer demand for extending support for its oldest Linux.
AWS introduced its Linux, the Amazon Linux AMI, in September 2010 and recommended it as the Linux best-suited to its EC2 IaaS service. The Linux AMI received rolling updates every six months and earlier versions could be updated or bug fixes incorporated into older versions. The last update landed in early 2018, not long after AWS introduced Amazon Linux 2, a newer cut of the open source OS better-suited to its more recent innovations.
The 2018 Linux AMI was given an end-of-support date of 30 June, 2020, together with an explanation that moving on was a good idea because the OS wouldn’t be able to support nice new things in EC2.
But earlier this week AWS announced an extension of support until 31 December, 2020 and “a new maintenance support period that extends to June 30, 2023.”
The reason? “Customer feedback”.
CRN can imagine feedback to the effect that two-and-a-bit years isn’t very long to use a platform, so AWS may well have been politely told that it needed to give customers more runway.
We can also imagine that customers who progressively upgraded to newer versions of the Linux AMI aren’t willing or able to stop using it. They may be happy to miss out on EC2’s best bits and willing to evolve at a slower pace. Or not evolve at all.
Which isn’t a bad thing as it remains hard to completely decouple applications from the platforms that run them (although Kubernetes will give it a good shake).
But hanging on to old tech is also a thing that we don’t associate with cloud. That customers are happy with the Linux AMI as just-about a legacy system, probably due to overwhelming technical debt, shows us once and for all that clouds aren't a magic fix for IT challenges.