Canonical is touting the cloud capabilities of its Ubuntu OS. The Enterprise Cloud edition of the Linux distro is picking up steam, at least with support from hardware manufacturers and partners. And, with the integration of the OpenStack cloud platform, along with the existing Eucalyptus, it's probably the most comprehensive choice for powering the underlying infrastructure for a private cloud.
Canonical has made a series of announcements linked to its cloud offering, starting with the integration of OpenStack and leading to the announcement that some Dell servers will come with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud pre-installed
Dell and Canonical have been working together for a while now on the desktop front.
Ubuntu has been deployed on servers on various occasions and by various companies and organizations, but with the official integration, customers can start building a cloud in no time at all.
Since launch, with Ubuntu 9.04, Enterprise Cloud has been bundled with the Eucalyptus platform.
Eucalyptus is offered as both an open source edition and an enterprise one and mimics the Amazon EC2 APIs to ensure that developers can build one application that works both in an private cloud and on a public one like Amazon's.
But with the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04, users will also have the choice of using OpenStack rather than Eucalyptus.
It's only a technology preview for now, mostly for testing and feedback, but, moving forward, Canonical plans to offer both choices side by side.
"Including two stacks has caused some raised eyebrows but it is not an unusual position for Ubuntu. While we look to pick one technology for integration into the platform in order to deliver the best user experience possible, we also want to make sure that users have access to the best and most up to date free and open-source software," Neil Levine VP of Corporate Services explained
The reason for including OpenStack, Canonical says, is that it wants to offer a truly free and open-source option. Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is completely free, unlike many enterprise Linux distros, but, while there is an open-source edition of Eucalyptus, you have to pay to get the most out of the platform.
OpenStack, created by NASA and Rackspace
and later joined by many big industry players, is offered under an Apache license. Canonical believed it was important to give users the option to deploy a free platform from top to bottom.
The choice offered, Canonical also says, makes Ubuntu the best option for private clouds.
"Ubuntu is the ultimate OS to deploy in a cloud and with which to build a cloud. No-one provides more up-to-date images on the most popular public cloud platforms. Our work to ensure compatibility to the most popular standards means that those guests will run just as well on a UEC cloud however that is deployed – either internally or for cloud provision externally," Levine concluded.