Canonical now offers AWS optimized Ubuntu Linux

Canonical has brought premium Ubuntu Pro Linux images to Amazon Web Services, which come with extended maintenance, broader security coverage, and critical compliance features.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When it comes to cloud operating system popularity, Ubuntu Linux is, by far, the most popular operating system on Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to the Cloud Market's latest analysis of operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Ubuntu has over 364,000 images with only generic Linux images surpassing it. Now, Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, is seeking to further its domination by offering premium Ubuntu Pro Linux images to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

These images come with Canonical's standard Ubuntu Amazon Machine Images (Amazon AMIs), plus automatically enabled key security and compliance subscriptions. In short, Ubuntu Pro is optimized by AWS Ubuntu, complete with security and support.

Canonical is doing this to better serve its business customers. In addition, while everyone loves Ubuntu, many AWS clients are using Linux without support. Of the 364,000 Ubuntu instances currently in use, only 190,000-plus are from Canonical. The company hopes that this new and improved business take on Ubuntu will bring it more subscribers.

In specific, Ubuntu Pro, which supports Ubuntu 14.04 Long Term Support (LTS), 16.04 LTS, and 18.04 LTS, comes with:

  • Eight years of package updates and security maintenance for 14.04 and 16.04, and 10 years for 18.04.
  • Kernel Livepatch, which allows for continuous security patching and higher uptime and availability by allowing kernel security updates to be applied without a reboot.
  • Customized FIPS and Common Criteria EAL-compliant components for environments under compliance regimes such as FedRAMP, PCI, HIPAA, and ISO.
  • Patch coverage for Ubuntu's infrastructure and application repositories, spanning hundreds of open source workloads including Apache Kafka, MongoDB, Node.js, RabbitMQ, Redis, and more.
  • Integration with AWS security and compliance features, including AWS Security Hub, AWS CloudTrail, and more, as of the first quarter of 2020. 
  • Businesses, which want to take advantage of Canonical technical support can add a subscription to the Ubuntu Advantage Advanced or Standard support packages. 

In a statement, Deepak Singh, AWS' VP of Compute Services, said: "The new Ubuntu Pro images will deliver a further optimized experience to our customers, providing additional security and performance to their Ubuntu instances." 

Christian 'Kiko' Reis, Canonical's VP of Public Cloud, added: "As Canonical assists enterprises moving their mission-critical workloads to AWS, the feedback we receive is that they demand expanded security coverage, greater operational efficiency and native compatibility with AWS features." And that's what Ubuntu Pro delivers.

The Ubuntu Pro images are available now on the AWS Marketplace. Prices range from free to $0.33 per hour for software plus AWS usage fees. Frankly, unless I had expert Ubuntu system administrators on staff, this sounds like a great deal to me.

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