Ubuntu 9.10 advances Canonical's cloud, enterprise goals

Ubuntu 9.10 advances Canonical's ambitious push into cloud computing -- and the enterprise.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

Ubuntu 9.10 advances Canonical's ambitious push into cloud computing -- and the enterprise.

Ubuntu is best known for its Linux desktop and there are several desktop improvements in this upgrade -- including a faster boot and login and enhanced audio and and 3G broadband connectivity.

But the spotlight is on the server side.

Canonical claims the new edition is the only server operating system that features a built-in open source cloud and allows customers to set up an Amazon EC2-based private cloud in less than one hour.

The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud was released standalone in April and related enterprise support services were made available in July. The difference? In the 9.10 release, UEC is a "fully supported technology" in the Linux server, Canonical said.

Here's how Canonical says customers can benefit from the cloud system, which is based on the same API as the public Amazon EC2. "This ... will allow businesses to start taking advantage of the possibilities of private clouds. Private clouds allow businesses to reap the benefits of flexible compute environments while avoiding the security, regulatory or policy restrictions inherent in pushing data onto a public cloud."

The server is also available on the Amazon EC2 environment as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). This allows customers to deploy Linux in either public or private clouds.

The cloud technology comes from partner Eucalyptus Systems, an open source company based in Goleta, Calif.

Eucalyptus is also developing a "store" capability that will offer "ready-to-deploy" appliances in the UEC. A preview of the technology and sample application is included with the newly available Ubuntu 9.10, formerly code-named Karmic Koala.

Canonical also tipped its hat at the enterprise by improving the application stack, directory services, virtualization, performance and system management of its Linux server.

First, it included MySQL 5.1 and enhanced the directory and sign-on tools for better directory integration. On the virtualization side, the kernel was improved to better support Xen as a guest and KVM as a host and a guest. Support for USB 3.0 will allow for faster transfer rates and support for the web-based management (WBEM) protocols will allow the Ubuntu server to be managed by leading system management tools used by enterprises, Canonical announced.

Canonical has demonstrated a big focus on the enterprise as of late.

Last month, the Ubuntu developer launched an advanced service and support offering for enterprises. As part of that,  the company makes available a premium service engineer who is dedicated to specific customers.

There's movement on the enterprise desktop as well. Earlier this week, the Linux company and IBM co-announced a cloud- and Linux-based desktop package in the U.S. designed for corporate use. The desktop -- called IBM Client for Smart Work --  combines IBM Lotus' collaboration suite and Ubuntu Linux.

It will be interesting to see the extent to which Ubuntu Linux is deployed in the enterprise. Most eyes and ears remain focused on Ubuntu on the desktop and increasingly, on the netbook.

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