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Fire(cracker) sale at AWS: Up to 50% lopped off container compute engine Fargate

Your move, Microsoft and Google

Amazon has taken an axe to the pricing of its containers-for-dummies service Fargate with costs for the on-demand engine dropping by up to 50 per cent.

In a move that has nothing to do with competing platforms, such as Microsoft's Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), honest, and everything to with the open-source virtualization tech Firecracker, Amazon insisted it was simply passing on savings to customers.

Oh, and please don't go looking at Microsoft or Google's clouds. Stay here in AWS where it's nice and warm.

Firecracker, a lightweight virtual machine (or microVM), made an appearance at last year's re:Invent powwow. AWS reckons the technology has tiny overheads compared to traditional VMs, with user application code launched in less than 125ms.

A single physical server can therefore host hundreds, or even thousands, of the things.

Ideal, one would think, for something like Fargate, which is all about running application containers on demand. Amazon certainly thinks so and by using Firecracker microVMs has trimmed the overhead and passed the savings on to customers while also cocking a snoot at the likes of AKS.

While unlikely to tempt Azure users away from AKS, the newly cheapened Fargate now represents an intriguing option for AWS EC2 users. The on-demand nature of Fargate means it has always been a good bet for scheduled tasks or processes likely to generate CPU or RAM peaks – you only pay for what you use, after all.

Up until now, however, the price hike for the privilege of using Fargate could easily offset the benefits and catch out the unwary. With that premium reduced by 20 per cent per vCPU second and 65 per cent per GB of memory per second, the scalability and reduction in management hassle inherent in Fargate has become more intriguing for developers.

But be careful. Yes, it is cheaper, but using Fargate for a predictably long-running task could still result in an unwelcome invoice compared to EC2 and a bit of planning.

Finally, and of particular interest to those invested in the serverless compute world, the pricing also makes Fargate an intriguing alternative to Lambda by combining the benefits of serverless and containers for not an insurmountable amount of additional complexity. ®

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