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Advantages of “Amazon Linux 2” over other flavours of Linux

Hi, similar questions have been asked in other forums but seeking more recent and hopefully less biased opinions.

What advantages does Amazon Linux 2 offer over the other established and reliable flavours of linux? Are there any significant disadvantages of running Amazon Linux 2?

I’m looking to run a high demand web application which is already written in PHP, but I am also curious how Amazon Linux 2 stacks up for other languages/use cases.


2 Answers

I don’t really think there are strong advantages or disadvantages of running Amazon Linux 2 over Ubuntu for example.   The Amazon Linux variants do have built in some tooling that make them work well with other AWS services like System Manager….but so do the public AMIs for Ubuntu.   If you use RHEL, SUSE or CENT, you’ll have to install the SSM agent manually.

Some might argue that Amazon Linux is optimized for the platform, but that’s debatable given all the variations and parameters at work.  Maybe the only disadvantage might be vendor lock-in.  If you want to redeploy to GCP for example, it would probably be more trouble than its worth to try to port Amazon Linux to run on a GCP VM.

I’ve used both Ubuntu, Amazon Linux and Amazon Linux 2 and find it’s just a preference of whether you like a Debian-based distro or a RPM-based distro.  I know an organization that migrated all their on-prem RHEL workloads to Amazon Linux 2 without issue.  They just wanted to shift the subscription funds from RHEL Premium to AWS Support.

Now that Amazon Linux 2 is available as a downloadable virtual machine, you can try it out locally.

For most common use cases for web apps like NodeJS, PHP or Tomcat, they are pretty portable across any distro and run generally the same.

Sam Anthony

Thanks for you feedback. I agree that most PHP Applications are not really influenced by the Linux flavor. We are planning the use Elastic Beanstalk (not my preferred choice but best option given current time constraints) which only supports Amazon Linux 1 out of the box. I was surprised to see someone has made a VirtualBox/Vagrant image for Amazon Linux 1 (not official AWS)

Old question but this page turned up as a top result on advantages of Amazon Linux … one big advantage from my perspective is that you can have a RHEL 7 type system with a much more up-to-date kernel.  The latest kernel supported by RHEL 7 is 3.10, while AL2 supports 4.14 and 5.10.

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