Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Unraveling the Best Cloud Titan in the Business World

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Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu

Which operating system holds the key to unlocking the full potential of cloud computing for your business? Amazon Linux or Ubuntu? The Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu battle for cloud computing domination is ongoing, with competitors striving to outdo each other in providing the most seamless and robust solutions.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Ubuntu hold prominent positions in this competitive landscape, with AWS Linux vs Ubuntu distribution competing for market share among businesses worldwide.

Both offer low-cost, scalable data centers, high-performance computing, and networking solutions. However, crucial differences remain in licensing, support, partnership ecosystems, and end-user experience that determine the best fit for various types of businesses.

The clash between Amazon Linux 2 vs Ubuntu, these two cloud titans, shapes the future of how businesses will leverage Linux operating systems to meet digital transformation goals. Read on as we give you an in-depth comparison of the two and some of the best features each offers: Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu

Table of Content

  1. What is Amazon Linux?
  2. What is Ubuntu?
  3. Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Performance and Scalability
  4. Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Security and Compliance
  5. Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Community, Support, and Documentation
  6. Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Compatibility and Use Cases
  7. Conclusion
  8. FAQs

What is Amazon Linux?

Amazon Linux is a Linux distribution developed by Amazon Web Services for use on the AWS cloud computing platform. It originated in 2010 as an Amazon internal project to provide an optimized Linux environment for running workloads on AWS. The goal was to build a distribution explicitly tailored for the AWS cloud rather than a traditional Linux designed for on-premise use.

The design of Amazon Linux prioritizes features that improve an instance’s performance, security, and availability when running on AWS. It uses a minimal base system and lightweight default applications to reduce overhead and support high-density virtual machine configurations.

Security is emphasized through tools like SELinux and a curated package repository with only software considered essential for AWS workloads. Updates are managed to minimize disruption and delivered automated to improve uptime. Amazon Linux aims to be a cloud-native OS that is simple, scalable, and seamlessly integrated with AWS services.

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux operating systems, known for its simplicity, reliability, and free, open-source code. It was launched in 2004 by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. The first release focused on ease of use, with an intuitive interface and comprehensive software library. It quickly gained a following among Linux enthusiasts frustrated with other complex distributions.

Over the next decade, Ubuntu went from strength to strength, appealing to mainstream desktop and laptop users with a polished and stable experience. By 2010 it had become the most popular Linux OS, powering millions of PCs and servers worldwide.

Shuttleworth’s vision was for Ubuntu to provide an alternative to expensive proprietary software, especially in the developing world. This ethos has helped shape the distribution’s development and community identity over nearly two decades.

Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Performance and Scalability

In the Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu battle, performance and scalability are crucial considerations when deploying servers for your business or applications. Your choice of operating system can significantly impact how well the system meets these needs.

Here is a detailed comparison.

Amazon Linux Performance

Amazon Linux is a Linux distro engineered explicitly for Cloud workloads and performing optimally on AWS. Here are some critical aspects of its performance:

AWS Integration

Amazon Linux is tightly integrated with AWS, allowing workloads to take maximum advantage of AWS services and features. It comes pre-installed with the AWS command line interface and SDKs to access AWS APIs from the OS easily. Security credentials are managed natively, making it seamless to authenticate to AWS from Amazon Linux instances. The distribution is also optimized to perform well within AWS’s hypervisors and hardware.

Scaling Abilities

Amazon Linux’s performance scales well both vertically and horizontally. Instances running Amazon Linux can quickly scale up to larger instance types with more CPUs, memory, and storage to meet workload demands. They can also scale out by running across multiple instances and availability zones. The OS includes enhancements to optimize boot times and provision new instances, enabling fast and easy horizontal scaling.

Amazon Linux’s tight integration with AWS and scaling optimizations make it a high-performance distribution suited for modern cloud-native applications and containerized workloads. Companies running performance-critical workloads like big data processing, high-traffic web applications, and video encoding farms benefit. This is because of the agility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness that Amazon Linux enables on AWS.

Ubuntu Performance

Whether running Ubuntu on a cloud server or an on-premise data center, its performance ensures a smooth and stable environment for your applications and users. Here is an evaluation of some critical aspects of Ubuntu’s performance.

Cloud Performance

Ubuntu comes pre-configured to run optimally in most major cloud environments, including Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Benchmarks show that Ubuntu performs comparably to other mainstream Linux distributions on cloud infrastructure, taking advantage of features like paravirtualization, containerization, and optimized kernel settings. Administrators praise Ubuntu’s ease of use and deployment in the cloud, allowing them to spin up new cloud instances quickly and reliably.

Scalability Options

Ubuntu offers multiple options for scaling your deployment as needed. This is a crucial element when comparing Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu. The simplest form of scaling is adding more Ubuntu cloud instances behind a load balancer. For more fine-grained scalability, container and microservice-based architectures using Docker and Kubernetes can leverage Ubuntu’s vast array of container images and optimization for these technologies. Ubuntu can also scale vertically by assigning more resources like CPUs, memory, and storage to individual cloud instances.

Ubuntu’s performance and scalability make it a good choice for running your applications at any scale in the cloud and on-premises data centers.

Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Security and Compliance

Even though there is an ongoing Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu battle, both Ubuntu and Amazon Linux take security seriously and offer features to keep your systems safe and compliant. As a mainstream Linux distribution, Ubuntu focuses on compliance with common software security standards like the Common Criteria and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Amazon Linux Security Features

As AWS’s own Linux distribution, Amazon Linux provides a secure foundation for deploying applications in the cloud. It includes built-in security features and optimizations for AWS.

AWS Security Alignment

Amazon Linux is tightly integrated with the security of the AWS platform. It includes tools and configurations optimized for AWS features like:

  • IAM: Amazon Linux supports Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles and policies for secure identity federation and authorization.
  • EC2 metadata: The EC2 metadata service contains SSH keys and IAM role data used by Amazon Linux instances.
  • CloudWatch: Amazon Linux integrates with CloudWatch to monitor system health and detect anomalies.

Compliance Standards

Amazon Linux meets several necessary industry security compliance standards:

  • PCI DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for securing credit card data and transactions.
  • HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for securing medical information.
  • SOC 2: Service Organization Control reports for data security, availability, and processing integrity.
  • FISMA: Federal Information Security Management Act for U.S. government systems and data.

Amazon Linux’s automated security patches and configurations help organizations meet these compliance standards and protect sensitive data and workloads. This key feature gives it an upper hand in the Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu battle.

Ubuntu Security Features

Ubuntu includes comprehensive security features designed to keep your data and systems safe. Here are some of the highlights:

Security Protocols

Ubuntu features robust security protocols and mechanisms to protect your data and system. The main ones include:

  • Firewall: Ubuntu comes with UFW, a simple-to-use front-end for IPtables. You can configure rules to allow or deny incoming network traffic.
  • Mandatory Access Control (MAC): Using AppArmor, Ubuntu implements MAC to restrict application actions. This limits the impact of vulnerabilities and exploits.
  • Encrypted Disk Storage: Ubuntu supports full disk encryption using technologies like LUKS and dm-crypt. This encrypts all data at rest on the hard drive for protection.
  • Secure Boot: Starting with Ubuntu 16.04, secure boot is supported to prevent unauthorized modifications to the boot process.
  • Software Updates: Ubuntu provides automatic and routine security updates for applications and the operating system to patch vulnerabilities.

Regulatory Compliance

Ubuntu has been tested and certified to meet a variety of industry standards for regulatory compliance:

  • Common Criteria Certification: Ubuntu has received EAL2+ certification under the Common Criteria standard. This evaluation covers security functionality like identification and authentication.
  • FIPS 140-2 Validation: The OpenSSL cryptographic libraries in Ubuntu have been validated under the FIPS 140-2 standard used by US government agencies.
  • HIPAA Compliance: Ubuntu has been assessed to meet key requirements for compliance with the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • PCI DSS: Ubuntu has been reviewed and deemed capable of adhering to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for protecting credit card data.

Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Community, Support, and Documentation

Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu both have strong community support and various support options. Community, support, and documentation are essential in choosing an operating system. A good-sized and active community can help provide support, answer questions, and develop helpful documentation.

Let’s get a deeper understanding of Amazon Linux 2 vs Ubuntu features comparison to understand both.

Amazon Linux Community and Support

Amazon backs Amazon Linux with ample community and support resources to help users thrive on the platform.

AWS Support

Amazon provides proactive and reactive support for Amazon Linux through AWS Support plans. Users can purchase different support plans based on their specific business needs. The proactive support includes monitoring Amazon Linux updates and notifications whenever new patches are released. The reactive support includes assistance with troubleshooting issues and resolving bugs. For mission-critical workloads, Amazon Premier Support is available to provide a collection of services, including dedicated technical account managers and support engineers.

Documentation and Resources

When you compare Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu, you’ll find that Amazon maintains many documentation and learning resources for Amazon Linux users. The official documentation covers various topics, from installation and configuration guides to programming and operations manuals. The documentation is well-organized and easy to navigate, making it simple for new and experienced users to find the necessary information.

In addition, Amazon hosts forums where users can ask questions and seek help. The size of the Amazon Linux community means that most issues can be resolved quickly through the forums. Many third-party learning materials like blog posts, tutorials, and courses provide deeper insights into using Amazon Linux in different scenarios.

Ubuntu Community and Support

The Ubuntu community is instrumental in the distribution’s success and continued growth. From reporting bugs and submitting software patches to providing guidance and troubleshooting assistance, community involvement ensures Ubuntu remains one of the best Linux operating systems.

Community Engagement

The Ubuntu community is vast, vibrant, and welcoming to newcomers. The community culture focuses on collaboration, sharing knowledge, and helping others. The Ubuntu community provides many ways for seasoned and new Linux users to engage based on interests and abilities.

Options for interacting with the community include:

  • Reporting issues and submitting patches for Ubuntu software
  • Providing technical support through forums and social media
  • Translating Ubuntu applications into different languages
  • Creating artwork and documentation
  • Organizing or participating in local Ubuntu events.

Documentation Availability

Official Ubuntu documentation provides comprehensive guides to installing, configuring, and troubleshooting Ubuntu. The Ubuntu community wiki contains a wealth of how-to articles, and FAQs contributed collaboratively by community members. Popular forums like Ubuntu Forums and AskUbuntu allow users to ask questions, seek troubleshooting advice, and share tips.

Other valuable resources include Community Help Wiki, Official Documentation, Ubuntu Manual, Ubuntu Forum, AskUbuntu, YouTube tutorials, and various Ubuntu-themed blogs. These guides, tutorials, and discussion platforms make it easy for users at all levels to find answers and help when needed.

Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu: Compatibility and Use Cases

AWS Linux vs Ubuntu analysis shows that both are compatible with different applications and use cases.

Here is a closer look at Amazon Linux 2 vs Ubuntu from the features perspective.

Amazon Linux Compatibility

Amazon Linux is an open-source Linux distribution created by Amazon Web Services for use on AWS. It is optimized to run securely and reliably on AWS resources.

Integration with AWS Services

Amazon Linux integrates seamlessly with numerous AWS services.

  • EC2: Amazon Linux AMIs are provided to launch EC2 instances quickly on AWS.
  • Elastic Load Balancing: Amazon Linux instances can register automatically with Elastic Load Balancers.
  • CloudWatch: CloudWatch agent is pre-installed to monitor system metrics from Amazon Linux instances.
  • RDS: Amazon RDS database instances can be accessed from Amazon Linux EC2 instances.
  • S3: The AWS command line tools are pre-installed to access S3 buckets from Amazon Linux easily.
  • Lambda: Amazon Linux can execute Lambda functions built with Node.js, Python, and Java.

Best Use Cases

Amazon Linux is well-suited for applications that require:

  • Heavy use of AWS services: Amazon Linux can simplify integration if your application utilizes multiple AWS services.
  • Automated deployments: Amazon Linux AMIs make it easy to replicate environments and deploy software automatically.
  • Cost optimization: The streamlined OS focuses on AWS functionality, keeping overhead and license costs low.
  • High availability architectures: Integration with services like ELB, ASG, and CloudWatch makes building resilient systems easy.
  • Security best practices: A default secure configuration and regular security updates help ensure workloads stay safe.

Ubuntu Compatibility

Ubuntu provides excellent compatibility with different platforms and environments, making it a versatile operating system option.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Ubuntu demonstrates impressive flexibility when working with various cloud services and infrastructure platforms. Ubuntu is Linux-based and supports most APIs and interfaces that work with other popular Linux distributions. This allows it to integrate seamlessly into multi-platform environments that include MacOS, Windows, and different flavors of Linux. Ubuntu’s extensive ecosystem of software packages and applications also ensures support for most tools and services.

Ubuntu has been optimized to work well in server, desktop, and cloud contexts. It is widely used for deploying applications on public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. This makes it more preferred in the Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu battle.

Ideal Scenarios

Ubuntu is particularly suitable for the following use cases:

  • As a development environment: Its highly customizable user interface and wide availability of development utilities make it an ideal choice for developers.
  • For software-defined data centers: Ubuntu’s stability, ease of automation, and CLI tools work well in software-defined infrastructure environments.
  • In cloud-native deployments: Ubuntu’s container support, integration with orchestration tools, and streamlined OS build process work well for cloud-native applications.
  • For edge and IoT devices: The minimal hardware requirements and availability of Snappy Ubuntu Core make it suitable for running on edge and IoT devices.


The Amazon Linux 2 vs Ubuntu battle provides compelling options for users and organizations. Both have their strengths and weaknesses depending on specific needs. Amazon Linux’s biggest strength is its tight integration with AWS services. It includes optimizations and tools for easier management of AWS resources. However, it lacks the wide software selection of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu, in contrast, has a massive ecosystem of available software packages due to its popularity. However, it does not have the AWS-specific optimizations and tools of Amazon Linux. The choice of Amazon Linux 2 vs Ubuntu depends on whether AWS integration or general software availability matters most to you.

When comparing Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu, you must know which is best for different needs. Amazon Linux is great for organizations and enterprise teams mainly using AWS and wanting a cost-effective, purpose-built solution. It delivers the streamlined experience and optimizations you need to maximize AWS. If your main focus is AWS, Amazon Linux is likely the better fit.

RedSwitches: Facilitating Your Choice Between Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu

RedSwitches offers a comprehensive suite of hosting and DevOps services to support your infrastructure powered by Amazon Linux 2 vs Ubuntu. We offer managed Linux VPS, Dedicated Servers, and private cloud solutions on both platforms.

If you are looking for great Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu integration, RedSwitches’ professionals are OS-agnostic and can work with either platform. We focus on understanding your business goals and technical requirements and recommending the optimal OS and services to meet your needs. We oversee setup, maintenance, and optimization so that you can focus on your core product or service.


Q-1) Which one is better, Linux or Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution created by Canonical Ltd. Ubuntu uses the Linux kernel and packages from the Debian repository. In general, Linux is the kernel, while Ubuntu is a distribution built on top of that kernel. Compared to other Linux distributions, Ubuntu tends to focus more on ease of installation and use. Due to its simplified user interface and broader software selection, Ubuntu is better suited for new or inexperienced Linux users.

Q-2) What is Amazon Linux used for?

Amazon Linux is a custom Linux operating system developed by Amazon for use on its AWS cloud computing platform. It is designed primarily for running code and applications on the AWS infrastructure. Amazon Linux offers tools and packages for the AWS ecosystem, like EC2 instances, S3 storage, Lambda functions, etc. It is optimized for security, performance, and stability on AWS.

Q-3) Is Amazon Linux lightweight?

Yes, Amazon Linux is designed to be a lightweight Linux distribution. Since it is primarily intended for AWS cloud resources, it contains minimal unnecessary packages and software. Amazon Linux uses a minimal installation approach that optimizes performance and reduces overall disk space requirements, making it lightweight.

Q-4) Is Linux and Ubuntu the same?

No, Linux and Ubuntu are not the same. Linux is a kernel – the core component of an operating system. On the other hand, Ubuntu is an entire Linux-based operating system built using the Linux kernel and other components like GNU core utilities and the Unity desktop environment. So Ubuntu uses the Linux kernel in its operating system but adds many other features.

Q-5) Which Linux is better for programming?

Generally, most Linux distributions are great for programming. However, some are slightly better suited for programming workflows. Distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora offer comprehensive programming tools, libraries, and packages. They are well suited for developers since they have large developer communities and good documentation. Ubuntu and Debian are perhaps the best Linux distributions for programming and software development.

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