Ubuntu Boosts Linux Performance on AWS Cloud

Thursday Apr 6th 2017 by Sean Michael Kerner
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While users can choose to run and install just about anything on a cloud, Ubuntu now has a new kernel tuned specifically for Amazon Web Services.

Running Ubuntu Linux on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud is a fairly common practice. Though Ubuntu has been available in the AWS marketplace for years, until recently there wasn't a version of Ubuntu with a Linux kernel that was specifically tuned for the AWS environment.

Udi Nachmany, head of public cloud at Ubuntu/Canonical, announced in an April 5 blog post that as of March 29, there were Ubuntu cloud images for Amazon that included an AWS-tuned kernel.Ubuntu AWS

The specific kernel at this point is the Linux 4.4.0-1013.22 kernel that is aligned with the Ubuntu 16.04 release.

According to Canonical, the AWS-tuned kernel offers up to 30 percent faster kernel boot speed over a stock Ubuntu Linux kernel running in AWS.

The tuned kernel also takes direct advantage of AWS's Elastics Network Adapter (ENA). The ENA technology first became available on AWS in June 2016, providing high throughput of up to 20G bps for virtual instances.

"ENA is a custom network interface optimized to deliver high throughput and packet per second (PPS) performance, and consistently low latencies on EC2 instances," Amazon explained when ENA was first announced.

Amazon Linux AMI Loosely Based on Red Hat's Fedora

When ENA debuted it was supported inside of the Amazon Linux AMI by default. The Amazon Linux AMI is loosely based on Red Hat's Fedora community Linux project. Now Ubuntu users will be able to easily and directly benefit from ENA as well.

The AWS-tuned kernel in Ubuntu also offers the promise of increased I/O performance as well as improved AWS storage handling capabilities.

While Canonical is providing support for the AWS-tuned kernel, it will initially be missing at least one capability that the non-AWS kernel benefits from.

"The AWS-tuned Ubuntu kernel will not support the Canonical Livepatch Service at the time of this announcement, but investigation is underway to evaluate delivery of this service for users of the AWS-tuned Ubuntu kernel," Nachmany wrote.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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