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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
AWS App2Container
3.
Application types supported by App2Container
4.
How does App2Container make it easier to containerize applications
4.1.
Working
4.1.1.
How to start
4.2.
Decide where containerization will run
5.
Benefits
6.
Limitations
7.
Frequently Asked Questions
7.1.
What are different artifacts generated by App2Container?
7.2.
Does App2Container support migrate the database used by the application?
7.3.
How does the App2Container flag applications that are not supported for containerization?
7.4.
Can we containerize the commercial-off-the-self (COTS) applications using App2Container?
7.5.
Which of the following is a prerequisite for Containerizing Java applications with App2Container A2C?
8.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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AWS App2Container

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Introduction

AWS App2Container (A2C) is a command-line utility that converts Java and .NET web apps to container format. All applications running on bare metal, virtual machines, Amazon EC2 instances, or in the cloud are analyzed and inventoried by A2C. 

Simply pick the application to be containerized, and A2C will package the application artifacts and dependencies into container images, configure the network ports, and generate the required Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS deployment components. 

The cloud infrastructure and CICD pipelines needed to deploy the containerized application into production are provided by A2C. You can simply transfer and update your applications to AWS as containers with A2C while standardizing deployment and operations.

AWS App2Container

AWS App2Container (A2C) is a command-line tool that allows you to lift and transfer applications from on-premises data centers or virtual machines into containers managed by Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, or AWS App Runner. Moving aging apps to containers is frequently the first step toward modernizing them. Containerization has numerous advantages:

  • Reduces infrastructure and operating expenses
  • Increases the speed of development and deployment
  • Build and deployment methods are standardized across an organization.
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Application types supported by App2Container

The following application types are now supported by App2Container (A2C): 

  1. Windows IIS 7.5+ web applications using ASP.NET (.NET 3.5+). These programs are packaged by A2C in Windows containers. 
  2. Java standalone JBoss, Apache Tomcat, and general Java applications running on Linux (Spring Boot, IBM WebSphere, Oracle WebLogic, etc.). Java applications are packaged with Linux containers by A2C.

How does App2Container make it easier to containerize applications

App2Container allows you to swiftly transition your existing on-premises, Amazon EC2, or other cloud applications. You get the following benefits by using A2C for containerization:

  • Application Inventory: A2C detects the supported ASP.NET and Java apps running on a server, allowing for a quick and accurate inventory of applications in your environment without a lot of human work.
  • Detailed Dependency Analysis: A2C examines the running program for dependencies, such as cooperating processes and network port dependencies. The human work necessary to comprehend and describe application anatomy and required dependencies is reduced thanks to this precise information.
  • Seamless Deployment: A2C integrates with multiple AWS services such as ECR, ECS, and EKS to generate ECS task definitions and Kubernetes deployment YAML for the containerized application, following AWS best practices for security and scalability. To deploy containerized applications in AWS, A2C provides a CloudFormation template that configures the needed compute, network, and security infrastructure. To develop and deploy containers, A2C creates CI/CD pipelines for Amazon DevOps services like CodeBuild and CodeDeploy. You can integrate A2C given deployment artifacts into your existing CI/CD processes if you already have CI/CD tooling (for example, Azure DevOps and Jenkins).

Working

Working of AWS App2Container

Source: https://aws.amazon.com/

How to start

AWS App2Container is a tool that simplifies the process of converting your applications to containers and configuring them to run on Amazon Web Services utilizing the Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, or App Runner container management services.

Starting with requirements and first process considerations, the next sections demonstrate the initial setup of your containerization environment. Then we'll show you how to use App2Container to containerize a basic application step by step. We create the assets for you to deploy on Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, or AWS App Runner, and then we clean up.

  • Init: Sets up the tool with your Amazon Web Services profile and other relevant parameters.
  • Inventory: Identifies all A2C-supported programs that are currently executing. To continue, select an application.
  • Analyze: Conducts in-depth analysis to discover application artifacts, third-party dependencies, network ports, and configuration files, and creates a configuration file to store the information. Additional adjustments to the configuration file are possible (for example, exclude or include any additional files or directories).
  • Containerize: For the analyzed application, create a dockerfile and a container image. Modify the A2C-generated dockerfile and rebuild the container if necessary. Before deploying to AWS container services, you can test the containerized application locally with the docker run command.
  • Generate Deployment: Creates ECS task definitions and a Kubernetes deployment YAML file to deploy the containerized application to Amazon ECS or Amazon EKS. A2C creates a CloudFormation template to build the infrastructure needed to launch the containerized app. It can also generate AWS CodeBuild and CodeDeploy artifacts to make building and deploying the containerized app more repeatable.

Decide where containerization will run

Set up an AWS profile, install App2Container, and install the Docker Engine on the server where the applications are running to use App2Container. You can set up and use a worker machine if your server does not satisfy the requirements for containerizing your application and deploying it to AWS, or if you do not want to install the Docker engine on the application server. You can run the procedures to containerize your application and deploy it to AWS on the worker machine, or you can establish connectivity between the worker machine and the application servers to run remote commands targeting the application servers from the worker machine.

Benefits

  • App2Container lets you containerize your existing applications and use a single set of monitoring, operations, and software delivery tools. Containerization unifies the infrastructure and skillsets required to run your applications, saving you money on both infrastructure and training. 
  • In order to develop and deploy a container image, you must first define application dependencies, network port configurations, and software delivery mechanisms. These tasks are often laborious, time-consuming, and error-prone. App2Container analyzes your applications and creates a container image for ECS or Kubernetes that includes the correct dependencies, network configurations, and deployment instructions.
  • Without changing any code, App2Container allows you to containerize applications operating in your data center. In addition, App2Container will automate the creation of deployment pipelines for container services such as Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, and AWS AppRunner using AWS best practices. You can automate the migration of your application from your data center to AWS by enabling remote execution.

Limitations

  • ASP.NET apps with the following features are not supported by A2C: 1) the application is OS-dependent on Windows 2008 and 2012, 2) it uses files and registries outside of the IIS web application folders, and 3) it is dependent on other Windows services or processes that are not part of IIS.
  • A2C's containerization of general Java programs (for example, those utilizing WebSphere or WebLogic) entails packing the complete file system without system and kernel files, with the exception of Tomcat and JBoss 7+ applications. As a result, the container image may get larger. If you want to lower the size of the photos, you may have to manually exclude files.
  • The A2C container image for Tomcat and JBoss v7+ applications only includes files that are actually used by the application. Package management and versioning files are not included in the container image. If you use an A2C-generated container image as the base image and then try to update the programs or their dependencies using a package manager, the update may fail.
  • For Java applications, A2C does not currently support Cluster/HA mode.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are different artifacts generated by App2Container?

App2Container generates the following artifacts for each application component: 

Application artifacts such as DLLs configuration

  • Dockerfile
  • container image in ECR
  • ECS Task definitions
  • Kubernetes deployment YAML
  • CloudFormation Template
  • AWS CodeBuild and CodeDeploy resources.

Does App2Container support migrate the database used by the application?

A2C does not allow dependencies that are external to the application server, such as databases. To transfer your application database to AWS, you can utilize tools like AWS Database Migration Service (DMS).

How does the App2Container flag applications that are not supported for containerization?

App2Container includes mechanisms for determining whether an application can be containerized with the tool. To begin, A2C just creates a list of supported application types, which include ASP.NET 3.5+ on Windows and Java programs on Linux. A2C then flags ASP.NET and Java apps that use the specific feature(s) not supported by A2C, such as ASP.NET applications using.NET 1.0.

Can we containerize the commercial-off-the-self (COTS) applications using App2Container?

We can containerize COTS apps with A2C as long as they are built on an A2C-supported application stack. Check the licensing and support terms and conditions with the application vendor before you begin.

Which of the following is a prerequisite for Containerizing Java applications with App2Container A2C?

App2Container requires these prerequisites installed on the server for hosting any application like AWS CLI ,Docker Tools and Powershell 5.0+ for applications running on Windows.

Conclusion

In this article, we have extensively discussed the theory of AWS App2Container.We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge regarding AWS App2Container.

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