Ubuntu Server 9.10 Looks Skyward
Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition will become available for free download on Oct. 29, and it may be able to give companies a quick on-ramp to cloud computing.
The server software's list of new features is topped with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) as a fully supported technology. UEC is the umbrella name for several cloud technologies, including the open source Eucalyptus project. Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the open source Ubuntu OS family, collaborated with the Eucalyptus community to fully integrate that core technology and then tweak it for Ubuntu server performance, according to Gerry Carr, head of platform development for Canonical.
"The growing attraction for cloud computing drove our development of the UEC. It is probably the most notable new feature," Carr told LinuxInsider.
One aspect of the new Ubuntu Server release likely to drive its adoption is its ability to allow enterprises to set up their own private clouds. UEC is a an open source cloud computing environment based on the same application programming interfaces (APIs) as Amazon EC2.
"Not everyone is using the clouds yet," said Carr. So, he said, the UEC feature will give enterprises a new way to make the migration.
Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition will also be available on the Amazon EC2 environment as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) from Oct. 29, Carr. said.
That arrangement enhances portability between the two platforms. Ubuntu's UEC images are identical to Ubuntu's AMI. Work done in one environment can be uploaded to the other.
The UEC features allow system administrators to set up, deploy and manage a cloud environment. Users already familiar with elastic compute environments can build a similar infrastructure behind their own firewalls, avoiding regulatory and security concerns that prevent many enterprises from taking advantage of cloud environments, explained Carr.
Another benefit of the UEC integration is a tight integration with power management tools. For example, the new Canonical-sponsored PowerNap project allows users to put the server to sleep when they are not actively used.
"This will be a big step for many enterprise users. It will be a big boon to adopting cloud technology," said Carr.
Canonical re-engineered the core server and kernel in this release. Numerous kernel improvements better support both Xen (guest) and KVM (host and guest) virtualization, and caching performance.
Also, USB 3.0 protocol will support super speed transfer rates when devices become available. In addition, the new server package, called "Django," includes fully supported framework-enhancing Web server options.
Canonical added support for system management extended through support for the WBEM (Web-based enterprise management) protocols. This opens the Ubuntu environment to support many popular system management tools currently deployed in enterprises, according to Carr, and allows them to interact more easily with Canonical's management tool for Ubuntu, called "Landscape."
Other improvements include the addition of MySQL 5.1 and a directory stack and Single Sign On tools upgrade for improved directory integration.
Pricing and Availability
Beta versions with some but not all of the final features are currently available at the Ubuntu Web site.
The full release of Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition will be available for free download on Oct. 29.