Canonical launches Ubuntu-powered cloud cluster in a box

Canonical launches Ubuntu-powered cloud cluster in a box

Summary: The Orange Box cluster is designed to encourage companies to experiment with Canonical's Ubuntu OS and orchestration tools when building cloud and distributed compute clusters.

TOPICS: Cloud, Hardware

Canonical — the company behind Ubuntu — is to encourage companies to build clouds around its tools by selling a micro cluster in a box.

The Orange Box is a 40 core, 10-node cluster packed inside a luggable flight case to allow rapid deployment of a cloud stack.

To streamline deployment and management of software across the cluster, it will ship with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit OS and JuJu cloud orchestration tools. And, to simplify hardware configuration, the cluster will also include Canonical's metal as a service software.

Canonical suggests the cluster is suited to deploying software from the OpenStack cloud infrastructure project, the Cloud Foundry platform, Hadoop clusters, and highlights the hundreds of JuJu charms that provide blueprints for deploying common cloud workloads.

Each node in the cluster includes an Intel i5-3427U processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, 120GB of SSD storage, an Intel HD 4000 GPU, and an Intel gigabit network interface controller. Four of the 10 nodes will include additional solid state drive and one of the 10 nodes will feature an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 wi-fi adapter and a 2TB hard drive.

Each node is connected to a D-Link DGS-1100-16 managed gigabit switch with 802.1q VLAN support. Six Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports are exposed on the rear panel, as are three USBs and an HDMI. The cluster is served by a 100V–240V power supply.

The Orange Box. Image: Canonical

The box itself measures 290mm by 213mm by 545mm and weighs 17kg when empty and 32kg when loaded with accessories.

The Orange Box is available from Tranquil PC for £7,575 in its base configuration.

Canonical offers two days of training with its engineers on how to use Ubuntu, MAAS, JuJu and other tools with the cluster, as well as consultation on rolling out these tools for use within the business.

Canonical is attempting to position the Ubuntu OS and its orchestration tools as an integral part of cloud stacks.

Read more on OpenStack

Topics: Cloud, Hardware


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • Just not a fan of Ubuntu

    I kike that Canonical is trying to make Linux relevant in Enterprise. But seriously since Unity I cannot stand what Ubuntu is anymore. One also has to wonder how long Canonical would support this if it only attracts a very few to it? If I was looking to replace a Windows platform in my enterprise I doubt Ubuntu would be my first choice. Or even my second or third. I think Linux itself has promise in a small way in enterprise desktops. Just not with Canonical and Ubuntu.
    • To Johnny

      When looking at the actual utilization at EC2 ubuntu is leading. greater than 50% of the actual/factual market share. We are all entitled to our opinion but not our facts. There has been a long-term "newbie" association with unity, and if you like windows 8 you would probably rave about unity... but under the hood the Lamp is solid and the price is right. While I'll agree that looking at Unity is no more appealing than windows 8 as far as a desktop experience might be, when you look at running multiple servers, headless servers, VM, esx, etc.. the look and feel of unity doesn't matter. It gets down to $ and what your approach to ownership of success and failure are? If your the IT guy who has to figure out the solution and have a fix yesterday then Ubuntu is more than Ok. If your the IT guy who needs some sort of diffusion of legal responsibility (require a support agreement) than maybe another OS is better suited... even if at the end of the day getting stuff to work matters.

      I run two versions of Linux in VM, Centos and Ubuntu. I'm avoiding products like windows 8 due to WinRT and an inability to get a sane virtual development environment established without vendor lock-in. Yes I hold MSFT certs, since 1996 MCSD 2006, and working on another MSFT cert 2014. But I'm not looking at the unity desktop in the way I envision the future, certainly avoiding lock-in by vendor, and think that the > 50% market share speaks for itself though I abhor the search lenses, think unity sparse, and lack of graphics support for desktops on older hardware disappointing.

      Ubuntu is the best platform to avoid lock-in and the best of breed to R&D
    • Ubuntu - Enterprise Proven!

      Funny, a few years back I was thinking pretty much along those lines: Ubuntu is a desktop focused solution and while I was happy that Canonical were making major inroads on having a Linux desktop competitor, I was not even considering it in the server room. We were a RH shop but they were getting slightly annoying with their licensing options so we decided to trial an Ubuntu server as a replacement for a RH file server. Well we were pleasantly surprised and have never looked back. We eventually migrated our entire Linux server base (40+) onto Ubuntu and opted for Canonical support on only 2 or 3 critical systems. Practical, cost-effective and flexible solution. I am no longer with that organisation but have since helped more than 5 small to medium sized businesses migrate onto Ubuntu server infrastructure. It wasn't always plain-sailing but no IT project ever is.

      In short, Ubuntu backed by Canonical are a solid player in the enterprise space and I think they will become a major component in medium to large corporates. They are especially well positioned in the cloud space and have a commanding lead over their other Linux rivals. I wish them well and look forward to deploying more of their OpenStack solutions.
  • Sounds great

    Ubuntu seem to be doing well.
    I did dislike Unity, so installed various other interfaces like twm, kde (this takes seconds in any case).
    I've found that since I've gotten to know Unity it's actually OK, and I'm prefering it over KDE.

    Can't say the same about Windows 8 however. Over time I found the start panel more and more annoying. In the end I installed viStart, a Windows 7 like menu. I did try very hard to get to terms with Windows 8 start, but the crashing back and fore into a different entire window really gets to you.
    • this orange box sounds really great the more I read about it

      you could even connect 10 off HDMI screens to it for an awesome desktop if money were no object.
      It would be interesting to find out what people ultimately use boxes like this for.
      No being rack-mounted, it isn't really a co-location machine. Certainly would be great for summer of code type events, but way more processing power than required for that kind of activity.
      A portable render-farm for blender? Probably not powerful enough for the super-big math calculations.
      It's far too powerful for a small company server, although the price would make it usable in this market.
  • Cloud?

    If your intention is to develop and deploy a cloud product, the obvious place to do it is on the cloud, rather than on this cluster in a box.