This move isn't as surprising as it might first seem. As Shuttleworth said, Canonical was one of the first Linux companies to back OpenStack. In the three years since, Shuttleworth said, Ubuntu is now the most popular operating system, with 70 percent on public clouds, and more than half of OpenStack cloud deployments using it.
Canonical is now offering what Shuttleworth called "Chuck Norris Grade" private clouds. This means that Canonical will offer fully managed, OpenStack private clouds with carrier service level agreements.
Canonical is adding private cloud hosting to its business model because as Chris Kenyon, Canonical's SVP of Worldwide Sales & Business Development, explained, smaller companies have a great deal of trouble holding on to OpenStack architectures. "It's not uncommon for a company to go through three architects in six months because the demand is so high for OpenStack experts. So to help our customers get up to speed on OpenStack, we decided to offer hosted private cloud services."
This new offering is called Your Cloud. For $15 per day per host, "Ubuntu offers all the software infrastructure, tools, and services you need to have your own cloud at your fingertips. Built by experts on Ubuntu OpenStack, fully managed and with 24/7 monitoring."
Canonical will build and operate your cloud. You can host it on the hardware of your choice in either your own datacenter or through your service provider. There are no up-front costs.
Based on the reactions at OpenStack Summit floor, Canonical will have no problem finding customers for this new service. One CIO from a small US business said, "We want to move to OpenStack, but we just don't have the in-house talent. This is exactly what we needed."