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Amazon Web Services today announced a major feature, the EC2 Container Service, for launching, managing, and deleting containers to hold developers’ application code.

It’s a major acknowledgment of an increasingly popular way to move code around from one server environment to another. Amazon, the top public cloud around, has shown a bit of support for the container model by launching support for Docker on its Elastic Beanstalk service, but now things have gone much deeper with the far more widely used EC2 computing service on Amazon.

Meanwhile, competing cloud providers like Google and Microsoft, among others, want to be great places to run applications packaged up in containers as well.

Amazon’s new service can perform cluster management, not unlike services such as Google’s Kubernetes.

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It integrates with Docker repositories and can work with schedulers like Apache Mesos, said Werner Vogels, Amazon.com’s chief technology officer, at Amazon’s re:Invent conference in Las Vegas today.

Containers — rather than virtual machines for running multiple applications on a single physical server — are something the top brass in the Amazon cloud have clearly woken up to.

“Decomposition into smaller building blocks helps development go much faster,” Vogels told the crowd. “Actually creating smaller blocks of your app, often even in the form of microservices, allows you to achieve better isolation and achieve faster updates to be able to use things like autoscaling to actually help you build better, faster services and to actually help the agility of your company.”

AWS Reinvent Docker containers 111314

The new service is available in preview mode for no charge, according to a blog post from AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr.

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