Ubuntu wants to be your cloud and data-center Linux

Ubuntu wants to be your cloud and data-center Linux

Summary: Ubuntu is best known as a popular desktop Linux, but it also wants to be your Linux of choice for both your data-center and your cloud.


Ubuntu Linux wants to be more than your Linux desktop, it wants to be your server and cloud operating system as well.

Ubuntu Linux wants to be more than your Linux desktop, it wants to be your server and cloud operating system as well.

Linux fans are excited about Ubuntu's forthcoming long-term service desktop release, Ubuntu 12.04. That's all well and good. After all Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company hopes 20-million of you will buy Ubuntu PCs in the coming twelve months. But, Ubuntu also wants to be your Linux of choice for your cloud and data center.

A first look at Ubuntu Linux 12.04’s Unity desktop (Gallery)

On the cloud,. Canonical has reaffirmed its allegiance to the OpenStack alliance. But, the company is adding their own twist: “Any Web Service Over Me” (AWSOME). AWSOME, which is now available in beta, is a cloud proxy. It provides OpenStack application programming interfaces (APIs) that are also used in the Amazon’s EC2 and AWS public cloud services. The idea is to make it easy to deploy hybrid cloud workloads across both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OpenStack clouds.

Since I foresee a war between EC2 and its allies and the OpenStack cloud supporters, I can see a service that will let you have both could be very attractove. AWSOME is designed to translate Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) requests from the AWS protocol to OpenStack’s native protocols.

OpenStack's supporters, since AWS is so popular, to no surprise, like this idea. "I applaud all efforts to improve AWS compatibility for OpenStack” said Vish Ishaya, Lead Architect of OpenStack Nova, for Rackspace in a statement. “AWSOME adds to the momentum of the OpenStack APIs, enabling OpenStack to focus on innovation”.

At this time, AWSOME is an installation option for Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS. You can help with the development at Canonical's AWSOME devleopment Web site.

Let's say you're still not sold on the idea of the cloud and you prefer to have your servers at your beck and call in your own data center. No problem. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's founder, has a new service for you too: Metal as a Service (MAAS).

MAAS is a deployment and provisioning tool for companies that no longer need to worry about setting up mere dozens or hundreds of servers. No, MAAS is for businesses that has to deal with hyper-dense racks of thousands of servers. As Shuttleworth writes, in the “hyperscale era, each individual node is cheap, wimpy and, by historical standards for critical computing, unreliable. But together, they’re unstoppable. The horsepower now resides in the cluster, not the node. Likewise, the reliability of the infrastructure now depends on redundancy, rather than heroic performances from specific machines. There is, as they say, safety in numbers.”

We know this works. It's what Google and Facebook use to deal with their massive service loads. The trick, as Shuttleworth points out, is setting up that many servers without driving your system administrators into a nervous breakdown or sending your IT budget to the moon. That's where MAAS comes in. With MAAS, Shuttleworth hopes to bring provisioning data centers and clusters both easier and cheaper.

Like AWSOME, MAAS is a beta project. Still, both programs look promising and either may turn out to be exactly what your IT department needs. Here's hoping both work out well.

Related Stories:

OpenStack vs. CloudStack: The beginning of the open-source cloud wars

20-million new Ubuntu Linux PCs in 2012?

Shuttleworth defends Ubuntu’s Linux contributions

What Ubuntu users think about Ubuntu 2012

Say hello to Canonical’s new Linux desktop: Ubuntu 12.04 beta review

Topics: Operating Systems, Cloud, Data Centers, Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Software, Storage

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  • Great idea!

    Having a secured OS like Linux and providing a cloud solution along with offering it from a popular distro like Ubuntu sounds like win-win to me!
    • Just make sure it's firewalled and sandboxed

      And patched on a regular basis.

      Needs to be done.
      • Why mark a comment about patching down?

        Scorpio - I just marked a + for your comment, though someone before had marked it to a -1. I must wonder why people are so anti patching and firewalling Linux applications.

        While the kernel itself may be more secure than Windows, nothing is fool proof. Worse are the applications around the kernel. Android issues are largely centred at the applications layer.

        So, why mark it down? I have no idea!
      • @cynical99 and @Scorpioblack

        Cynical99, where do you get the idea that Linux users are against patching? Perhaps, from Windows users? On Ubuntu, Debian et al. to upgrade you just push a button, very few reboots are required. It is not the case with Windows, especially, with 3-d party software and constant annoying reboots.
        Firewalling might be a little overboard, unless you run a dedicated server. ssh-server is not installed by default. On most distros ports are closed from the outside. Good and secure password policy is more important (as on any other OS), as was reassured by the kernel.org incident.
        Sandboxing is also present out-of-the-box and configurable by means of apparmor or SELinux.
      • Are you serious?

        [i]@cynical99 and @Scorpioblack where do you get the idea that Linux users are against patching?[/i]

        Where did I say they were against patching? Tell me where I said that.

        I said what I said just as a common reminder since some people forget. And firewalling is just good pratice. Nothing "overboard" about it at all.
      • As should any OS, no matter what the version

        Just good common sense!

        Tell Sony that LOL!
      • My comment was fairly simple

        I was appalled that someone would mark down a comment about patching. And, yes, I have noticed some of the more rabid Linux supporters don't believe in patching. That one I really can't understand. Even Linux benefits from updates. Why else would they be issued?

        If you want to run a cloud without a firewall around it, go ahead. Glad you aren't in charge of my Data Center.
  • I prefer red hat / cent os

    And Debian in my datacenter, but that's just me I guess. And since the 2.6 kernel I can use Windows fail over clustering and Hyper-v to run them, along with all the Windows vm's.

    Wondering how many companies are going the ubuntu server route, for now I guess for most companies RH has a big advantage over Ubuntu.
  • This is called "Betting the farm"

    It's like the Hyunday 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. Shuttleworth is gambling the Canonical fortunes on a few key bets like AWSOME. The question, just like American Consumers questioned Hyundai's initial reliability and longevity, is if Canonical will be around for the long haul like Amazon and other cloud stalwarts.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Another car anthology

      What does Hyundai have to do with article, nothing.
      • Analogy, not 'Anthology'

        Hyundai has nothing to do with the article. Consumer perception of the company backing any given product is an important part of the equation leading to adoption of that product, though.

        Although I disagree with facebook's conclusion, I see why he/she chose that *analogy*
  • Red hat v Canonical decision

    Desiring to convert a 25-server operation to one standard, supported OS; we called both Red Hat and Canonical to ask a duplicate set of questions. The speed of response was overwhelmingly in Canonical's favor. We're an Ubuntu shop now.
  • Ubuntu:giving linux a black eye

    sure for many years it was a nice os to pop on your computer and worked, not anymore. NO giveback to the kernel, broken installers, overconfigured desktop. I guess I could spend a year poking around to get the Adblock off firefox, which has no controls at all unless you change views. Just can't say enough bad things about the product, and the company.

    I didn't want to name my computer so it will work with ubuntu1 cloud, but no choice.
    you can't opt out.

    yes, going back to the well, DEBIAN!!!!!
    sparkle farkle
    • Did you read the article?

      What you said has nothing to do with the article. This is about automatically deploying new machines into a cloud with MaaS and setting them up later with Juju.

      This is not about the desktop. Please stay on topic.
      • yes I read the article

        As you well know the desktop for the most part is the same as the server. It's very nice that ubuntu has found a way to make money off of the debian people's work. I guess that's what open source is all about. On the other hand it would be nice if they gave back SOMETHING, at this point even thier desktop is worthless. So what are they giving back to the community????

        I guess it can wait untill they're very successful, and like sun, get bought up by cannibals.
        sparkle farkle
  • Ubuntu wants to be your cloud and data-center Linux

    That ship sailed off into the sunset with the Mandate to adopt Unity ...
    Not sour grapes, it's voting with my feet.

    It is much easier to use my current OS which serves my needs admirably well, time is tight, work needs to be done and learning to work according to what Mark Shuttleworth thinks is "right" is not right for me.

    If I come to need more seamless cloud integration, perhaps I'll have a look, but for now, work first; it comes before change for changes sake.