First impressions: Canonical Orange Box and Juju (Gallery)

First impressions: Canonical Orange Box and Juju (Gallery)

Summary: The Orange Box really is a cloud-in-a-box. But while the hardware is neat, it's the Juju DevOps software inside that makes it special.


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  • The Ubuntu-powered Canonical Orange Box

    Inside the Orange Box, you'll find ten Intel micro-servers.  Each is powered by Ivy Bridge i5-3427U CPUs. Every one of these mini-servers has four cores, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 16GBs of DDR3 RAM, a 128GB SSD root disk, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The first micro-server also includes a Centrino Advanced-N 6235 Wi-Fi Adapter, and 2TB Western Digital hard drive. These are all connected in a cluster with a D-Link Gigabit switch.

    Put it all together and you get a 40-core, 160GB RAM, 1.2TB SSD cluster in a 37.4 pound box. With its flight case, it weighs in at 70 pounds. In short, while you can't lug it onto a plane, it's just light enough to journey with you as checked luggage.  

  • Inside the Orange Box

    The ten Intel micro-servers, aka Next Unit of Computing (NUC)s, are placed on the long sides of the box. The entire chasis acts as one emormous heat-sink. To the right you can see the D-Link Gigabit switch, whch the NUCs used to communicate with each other. Everything within the Orange box is made up of commerical off the shelf (COTS) gear. 

Topics: Cloud, Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Ubuntu

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  • Odd form factor?

    That doesn't look very 19" rack friendly. What's the target market?
    Buster Friendly
    • I believe it is for emergency services...

      It looks to be fairly weather proof, and hardened for non-computer center use.
  • Interesting

    This is a wonderfully interesting device. As the creator of the CriKit Desktop Private Cloud platform and having done a LOT of testing with various hardware configs, this may be merely a demo and training device and Canonical has a steep learning curve about the market for these devices. It will be great in education and situations where performance and virtual machine density don't really matter. Low speed Intel i5's really bog down running virtual machine workloads and running a virtualized hadoop cluster on these will be painful for real work. It is also a little misleading to call i5 NUC's " microservers" . They do not have true server chipsets but they do support virtualization and can run server software, but they aren't a "Server" hardware platform, it's a desktop platform. Plus, with one LAN port on each NUC, the network will become a serious bottleneck in many cloud and cluster configs. For example, try doing VM snapshots on all nodes at once to networked storage, or multiple live migrations of VM's to other nodes. The whole box and all it's applications will suffer in those situations and they are common occurrences. Also, buyers are kind of on their own with support on this thing based on desktop NUCs and using them as servers unless there is some kind of special agreement with Intel. Anything that is not a desktop OS is not officially supported according to the Intel web site. Caveat emptor ... unless you are a DIY'er and want a low performing toy to play with. Don't get me wrong, I love the concept and it's about time more orgs started building these low-cost cloud platforms, but it isn't as easy as it looks :-). Trying to build something that is at the intersection of low-cost, compact, low-wattage, quiet, cool and powerful enough to run modern cloud infrastructure and applications in a zippy way is really hard.
    Cloud Guy
  • Without really intending to

    Canonical has created a great product!
  • 110V?

    I know this is an American publication, but look more closely - that's a 100-240V AC power connector, so it'll work pretty much any place that has AC domestic sockets!
    • That depends entirely on the cable being used...

      And the power supply being capable of handling that voltage.
  • Ready for the "shwoosh" sound as people diss Unity, missing the point

    Hope i'm wrong and it doesn't happen.