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amazon awsCloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) has opened its technology for storing and managing application container images up to public consumption.

The AWC EC2 Container Registry Service (ECR) had been exclusively for industry insiders who attended the launch at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas in October. However, AWS has now decided to level the playing field, its Senior Product Manager Andrew Thomas revealed, guest writing on the blog of AWS chief technologist Jeff Barr. Thomas invited all interested cloud operators to apply for access.

As containers have become the de facto method for packaging application code all cloud service providers are competing to fine tune the process of running code within these constraints, as an alternative to using virtual machines. But developers have fed back teething problems to AWS, Thomas reports in the blog.

ECR, explains Thomas, is a managed Docker container registry designed to simplify the management of Docker container images which, developers have told Thomas, has proved difficult. Running a Docker image registry, in a large-scale job like an infrastructure project, involves pulling hundreds of images at once and this makes self-hosting too difficult, especially with the added complexity of spanning two or more AWS regions. AWS clients wanted fine-grained access control to images without having to manage certificates or credentials, Thomas said.

Management aside, there is a security dividend too, according to Thomas. “This makes it easier for developers to evaluate potential security threats before pushing to Amazon ECR,” he said. “It also allows developers to monitor their containers running in production.”

There is no charge for transferring data into the Amazon EC2 Container Registry. While storage costs 10 cents per gigabyte per month all new AWS customers will receive 500MB of storage a month for a year.

The Registry is integrated with Amazon ECS and the Docker CLI (command line interface), in order to simplify development and production workflows. “Users can push container images to Amazon ECR using the Docker CLI from the development machine and Amazon ECS can pull them directly for production,” said Thomas.

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