What is AWS Firecracker?

Posted on by Michael Wiltkins in Amazon Web Services, and Cloud Computing

Amazon is a major player in the cloud segment. Started more than a decade ago, Amazon and its cloud empire have grown significantly thanks to AWS (Amazon Web Services) and it’s large margins when compared to the company’s retail business.

One of the company’s newer features is called Firecracker which is a new virtualization technology. This feature is built on-top of Kernel-based Virtual Machine that allows the kernel to function as a hypervisor.

This new tool makes it possible to launch lightweight micro-virtual machines in non-virtualized environments in less than a second. What this allows you to do is to create workload isolation that VMs have traditionally offered but with the resource efficiency that containers provide.

  • Secure – Amazon has implemented a simple guest model, process jail, and static linking to keep the isolated workloads, isolated.
  • High Performance – You can launch a microVM in as little as 125 ms
  • Battle-Tested – Firecracker has been battled-tested and is already powering multiple high-volume AWS services including AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate.
  • Low Overhead – Firecracker consumes about 5 MiB of memory per microVM. You can run thousands of secure VMs with widely varying vCPU and memory configurations on the same instance.
  • Open Source – Firecracker is an active open source project. We are already ready to review and accept pull requests and look forward to collaborating with contributors from all over the world.

Amazon looks at Firecracker as the first step of many towards a more sustainable and productive microservices architecture. Going forward, look for the company to innovate on this idea to make it easier to run larger and deeper processes inside of Firecracker with the near instant ability to launch, execute, and shut down the service.

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