Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'ubuntu server'

Mark Baker

To paraphrase from Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote at the OpenStack Developer Summit last week in Hong Kong, building clouds is no longer exciting. It’s easy. That’s somewhat of an exaggeration, of course, as clouds are still a big choice for many enterprises, but there is still a lot of truth in Mark’s sentiment. The really interesting part about the cloud now is what you actually do with it, how you integrate it with existing systems, and how powerful it can be.

OpenStack has progressed tremendously in its first few years, and Ubuntu’s goal has been to show that it is just as stable, production-ready, easy-to-deploy and manage as any other cloud infrastructure. For our part, we feel we’ve done a good job, and the numbers certainly seem to support that. More than 3,000 people from 50 countries and 480 cities attended the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, a new record for the conference, and a recent IDG Connect survey found that 84 percent of enterprises plan to make OpenStack part of their future clouds.

Clearly OpenStack has proven itself. And, now, the OpenStack community’s aim is making it work even better with more technologies, more players and more platforms to do more complex things more easily. These themes were evident from a number of influential contributors at the event and require an increased focus amongst the OpenStack community:

Global Collaboration

OpenStack’s collaborative roots were exemplified early on with the opening address by Daniel Lai, Hong Kong’s CIO, who talked about how global the initially U.S.-founded project has become. There are now developers in more than 400 cities around the world with the highest concentration of developers located in Beijing.

Focus on the Core

One of the first to directly hit on the theme of needing more collaboration, though, was Mark Shuttleworth with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” OpenStack has grown fantastically, but we do, as a community, need to ensure we can support that growth rate. OpenStack should focus on the core services and beyond that, provide a mechanism to let many additional technologies plug in, or “let a thousand flowers bloom,” as Mark eloquently put it.

HP’s Monty Taylor also called for more collaboration between all of OpenStack’s players to really continue enhancing the core structure and principle of OpenStack. As he put it, “If your amazing plug-in works but the OpenStack core doesn’t, your plug-in is sitting on a pile of mud.” A bit blunt, but it gets to the point of needing to make sure that the core benefits of OpenStack – that an open and interoperable cloud is the only cloud for the future – are upheld.

Greasing the Wheels of Interoperability

And, that theme of interoperability was at the core of one of Ubuntu’s own announcements at the Hong Kong summit: the Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab, or Ubuntu OIL. Ubuntu has always been about giving companies choice, especially in the cloud. Our contributions to OpenStack so far have included new hypervisors, SDN stacks and the ability to run different workloads on multiple clouds.

We’ve also introduced Juju, which is one step up from a traditional configuration management tool and is able to distil functions into groups – we call them Charms – for rapid deployment of complex infrastructures and services.

Will all the new capabilities being added to OpenStack, Ubuntu OIL will test all of these options, and other non-OpenStack-centric technologies, to ensure Ubuntu OpenStack offers the broadest set of validated and supported technology options compatible with user deployments.

Collaboration and interoperability testing like this will help ensure OpenStack only becomes easier to use for enterprises, and, thus, more enticing to adopt.

For more information on Ubuntu OIL, or to suggest components for testing in the lab, email us at oil@ubuntu.com or visit http://www.ubuntu.com/cloud/ecosystem/ubuntu-oil

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David Duffey

Today we announced a collaborative support and engineering agreement with Dell.  As part of this agreement Canonical will add Dell 11G & 12G PowerEdge models to the Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS Certification List and Dell will add Ubuntu Server to its Linux OS Support Matrix.

In May 2012, Dell launched the OpenStack Cloud Reference Architecture using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on select PowerEdge-C series servers. Today’s announcement expands upon that offering by combining the benefits of Ubuntu Server Certification, Ubuntu Advantage enterprise support, and Dell Hardware ProSupport across the PowerEdge line.

Dell customers can now deploy with confidence when purchasing Dell PowerEdge servers with Dell Hardware ProSupport and Ubuntu Advantage.  When these customers call into Dell, their service tag numbers will be entitled with ProSupport and Ubuntu Advantage, which will create a seamless support experience via the collaborative Dell and Canonical support and engineering relationship.

In preparation for this announcement, Canonical engineers worked with Dell to enable and validate Ubuntu Server running on Dell PowerEdge Servers.  This work resulted in improved Ubuntu Server on Dell PowerEdge support for PCIe SSD (solid state drives), 4K-block drives, EFI booting, Web Services Management, consistent network device naming, and PERC (PowerEdge RAID Controllers).

Dell hardware systems management can be done out-of-band via ipmi, iDRAC, and the Lifecycle Controller.  Dell OMSA Ubuntu packages are also available but it is recommended to use the supported out-of-band systems management tools.  Dell TechCenter is a good resource for additional technical information about running Ubuntu Server on Dell PowerEdge servers.

If you are interested in purchasing Ubuntu Advantage for your Dell PowerEdge servers, please contact the Dell Solutions team at Canonical.  If your business is already using or thinking about using a supported Ubuntu Server infrastructure in your data-center then be sure to fill out the annual Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey to provide additional feedback.

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Mark Baker

Today, Canonical and HP announced that Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS is to be certified and supported by HP on its Proliant Systems:

http://www.canonical.com/content/ubuntu-1204-lts-server-be-certified-supported-hp-proliant-systems

This is a huge announcement for us at Canonical. It’s also testament that HP sees real business benefits in offering certified and supported Proliant systems with Ubuntu Server. Arguably, however, the most significant aspect of the announcement is the implication that the next generation of computing requires a different model.

Big data and cloud computing are at the forefront of a move towards hyperscale distributed systems. To meet these new challenges, today’s IT departments need a proven developer-led technology that’s free from licensing restrictions.

Ubuntu Server is that technology. That’s why it is now the platform of choice for Openstack clouds and the only commercially-supported Linux distribution to be increasing its share of the online infrastructure market. Even on Amazon Web Services, Ubuntu Server reigns supreme – thanks to its technological and commercial advantages over other platforms.

HP has been working with Canonical for several years now and in that time, it has grown to understand where we sit in the IT ecosystem. The resulting announcement of support for Ubuntu on Proliant (alongside other Linux platforms) is a signal to organisations of all kinds that the IT landscape is changing.

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Mark Baker

Last week saw the culmination of one of the UK’s most popular TV shows – Britain’s Got Talent. The way in which this show over five series has captured the attention of the British public is quite incredible, with the majority of popular media outlets dedicating significant space to the contestants, the judges, rumours about the format and speculation about who would win.

Such coverage and excitement means that Britain’s Got Talent drives audience and voter engagement to levels that politicians must dream about. Of course there are many ways that the show makes sure it gets our attention, not least of which is having hours of live coverage on prime time television, but, the talented team behind the show are also using many techniques to encourage deeper engagement for a modern audience.

Take for example the Buzz Off game. This is a game with which viewers can play along while watching the show to ‘buzz’ the acts that they don’t like using a mobile or web-based application. The buzzes are stored with a running total kept and shown per act on the website, so that the audience goes from being an passive viewer to an active participant in the show. The Buzz Off game is developed by Livetalkback for the Britain’s Got Talent Team and recently Malcolm Box, CTO of Livetalkback explained to a group of London big data enthusiasts some of the challenges in building and designing an application that is required to scale to almost Facebook like proportions for a short period of time. The full presentation is below, but for convenience some of the key points are:

  • The volume of traffic being handled by the Buzz application during a two hour live show is equivalent to 130 billion requests per month – excluding Google, this would put the application as approximately the 2nd largest website in the world behind Facebook.
  • To manage this scale, the application is based on Ubuntu Server, MySQL and Cassandra all hosted in the Amazon Public Cloud
  • The service uses hundreds of instances that must be brought online very quickly as additional capacity is required and then released as the load declines after the show.

Malcolm and the team at Livetalkback have done an incredible job to put this together in a short space of time and have it work reliably throughout this year’s programme. A cloud-based approach made perfect sense for an application with such specific scaling requirements, and it was vital that the application scaled not only technically but financially as well. This is where Ubuntu on Amazon really proved its worth – customers pay for the resources they use and there are no license fees or royalties to worry about when bringing up new instances. It is the type of efficient driving of engagement that once again Government departments must be in awe of.

Which brings us onto the Cabinet Office. The UK Government is looking for ways to provide cost effective online systems that drive audience engagement. Recently there have been signs that there has been progress  through the Alpha.gov.uk project led by Martha Lane Fox. Alpha.gov.uk is a prototype site that demonstrates how digital services could be delivered more effectively and simply to users through the use of open, agile and cheaper digital technologies. It is only a prototype at the moment but it is significant in that it has been quickly put together and delivers exactly what it is supposed to do in a cost effective way. So how did they do it? Well they decided on a similar architecture to Livetalkback – Open source software based on Ubuntu Server in a public cloud. Full details of the technology used is at:

http://blog.alpha.gov.uk/colophon

British tax payers will take heart form the knowledge that someone in the Cabinet Office is looking at this and hopefully wondering why more Government services can’t be delivered like this. When it comes to engaging an audience and encouraging interaction in a cost effective way, Britain’s Got Talent and the Cabinet Office now have more in common than you’d think.

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Gerry Carr

One of the benefits of the direction that’s been taken with the next release of Ubuntu is that there is no longer a need for a separate netbook edition. The introduction of the new shell for Ubuntu means that we have a user interface that works equally well whatever the form factor of the PC. And the underlying technology works on a range of architectures including those common in netbook, notebooks, desktops or whatever you choose to run it on. Hence the need for a separate version for netbooks is removed.

To be clear, this is the opposite of us withdrawing from the netbook market. In fact looking at the download figures on ubuntu.com interest in netbooks is not only thriving but booming. It’s us recognising that the market has moved on and celebrating that separate images are no longer a requirement as the much anticipated convergence of devices moves closer.

A return to the Ubuntu name

Which actually got us thinking about our naming conventions in totality. ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition’ arose in 2005 as a response to the launch of Ubuntu Server Edition and our desire to distinguish between the two. But desktops are no longer the pre-eminent client platform. And actually naming the the ‘edition’ after any target technology is going to have us chasing the trend. Also we were tying ourselves to some ungainly product titles – Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition for instance. User feedback also told us that people thought the edition was not for them as they had a laptop and spent time looking for a ‘Laptop Edition’.

So we are going back to our roots. From 11.04 the core product that you run on your PC will be simply, Ubuntu. Therefore the next release will be Ubuntu 11.04 and you can run that, my friend, on anything you like from a netbook to a notebook to a desktop. Ubuntu Server will be maintained as a separate product of course and named simply, Ubuntu Server 11.04.

We think this will make things simpler. When we mean Ubuntu for notebooks we will say just that rather than the more confusing, ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition for notebooks’. We are retaining the concept of ‘remixes’ for community projects and the naming convention therein. And we would love to hear what you think.

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