Amazon AWS Invests In Rust
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 30 November 2020

No, it's not some strange deal on the mineral exchanges. After Mozilla threw the amazing Rust language under a bus, it seems companies are queuing up to support it. The latest, and perhaps the most serious, is Amazon in the form of AWS.

rust

AWS is a big producer of lines of code and any language it adopts is in for a boost. In the AWS Open Source blog we have the surprising statement:

"One of the most exciting things about the Rust programming language is that it makes infrastructure incredibly boring."

This is surprising because, apart from diehead Rustics, most programmer are cautious about endorsing this new language. "It might mature into something special" is more typical of what people say. It seems, however, that AWS is more committed than anyone could have guessed:

"...at AWS we increasingly build critical infrastructure like the Firecracker VMM using Rust because its out-of-the-box features reduce the time and effort needed to reach Amazon’s high security bar, while still delivering runtime performance similar to C and C++."

It seems that many AWS services, including BottleRocket, S3 and parts of EC2, use Rust. Broadly speaking, the platform team provides the infrastructure, environments, deployment pipelines and other internal services that enable internal customers — usually application development teams — to build, deploy and run their applications. 

This could just be the confidence maker that is needed to push Rust from the language a lot of programmers would like to use to one that they do use.

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What's so special about Rust:

"Rust does not require a runtime or garbage collector, it is able to achieve runtime performance similar to C and C++. At the same time, Rust uses a strict type system and ownership model to achieve compile-time verification of memory and concurrency safety, making the cost of testing and validating Rust implementations significantly lower than C/C++."

Add to this love letter to Rust, the statement that:

"For these and other reasons, we’ve looked for more ways to participate in the Rust community."

AWS has already given compute time on EC2 to the community and now it seems to be set on buying up key contributors.

 "...hiring contributors like Sean McArthur, Lucio Franco, Jon Gjengset, and Lerche to continue to work side-by-side with developers from Buoyant, Dropbox, Confluent, vector.dev, fly.io, and more."

and

"More recently, we’ve been fortunate to hire key Rust maintainers such as Felix Klock. Given our dependence on Rust, we need deep in-house Rust expertise..."

Clearly, what Mozilla thinks of as dross, Amazon thinks of as gold. In addition to hiring the stars, it also wants to hire some "normal" Rustics. Currently they are looking for more than 100 programmers with Rust experience.

Is this good?

If it was Microsoft doing this most would think - Embrace, Extend Extinguish - perhaps unfairly given the new reformed Microsoft we are asked to believe in.

If Google was doing it we would all be looking for the sting in the tail concerning privacy, tracking and advertising.

But Amazon, and specifically AWS?

It is difficult to see an ulterior motive for supporting a language.
It might well have a reputation for using open source and not giving back - but this is giving back.

So good news in an otherwise gloomy year.

 rust

More Information

Why AWS loves Rust, and how we’d like to help

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Last Updated ( Monday, 30 November 2020 )