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Ubuntu 14.10 Adds New Features Around Containerized Applications, Big Data

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Ubuntu has released its latest major release, 14.10 which is also known by its codename “Utopic Unicorn”, which features some more “bleeding-edge” technologies not present in the Ubuntu Long-Term Support release unveiled six months ago.

“The last release was 14.04, our Long-Term Support release, and that tends to mean that we don’t try to do anything too dangerous with it,” Ubuntu Server Product Manager Mark Baker told The WHIR. He noted that it’s likely that around 70 percent or more of enterprises run the LTS version, and they appreciate a “rock-solid” code base. “This release, 14.10 is an interim release, it’s an area where we showcase a lot of technology.”

Docker Support

The latest version of Ubuntu expands support for containerized applications beyond LXC with the addition of Docker 1.2. Many developers have embraced this containerized approach in the past 6 to 12 months because it allows them to code applications and deploy them into multiple environments, and offers greater portability for their applications.

Making Cloud Foundry Easier

Ubuntu 14.10 is also designed to make working with the Cloud Foundry Platform as a Service much easier. “Cloud Foundry is a very big, very complex application,” Baker said. “We’ve been working hard with them to make that solid and reliable on Ubuntu 14.10.”

While its a beta feature, users can deploy and scale Cloud Foundry on Ubuntu using its orchestration tool Juju. Juju Charms define applications as services, and the Cloud Foundry charm allows A Cloud Foundry PaaS architecture to be easily deployed on a cloud infrastructure or on bare-metal servers using MAAS (or Metal as a Service) to build a foundation on which to deploy these services.

Handling Big Data with Hadoop

Another major part of the 14.10 release is making it easier to roll out data analytics and scale-out workloads with Apache Hadoop. While many companies have rolled their own Apache Hadoop solutions, the latest updates makes it easy to deploy Hadoop using Juju.

Dealing with Windows Workloads

In recognition of the fact that most organizations use a variety of software and platforms, Juju and MAAS have added capability around provisioning and deploying Windows-based workloads including SQL Server and Sharepoint.

“We’ve spent four years now building Juju as an orchestration tool,” Baker said. “When it comes to deploy, manage and scale workloads in an Ubuntu environment, we’ve got that down pretty well now…. A lot of customers like provisioning and deploying services with Ubuntu, but they want to do that with other operating systems.”

Utilizing SSD

In terms of how Ubuntu works with hardware, a new service known as “bcache” allows data that has to be read quite regularly to be cached to SSD storage. This provides faster access, and only requires the organization to have a fraction of its storage be SSD.

While Ubuntu is often considered the default choice for a Linux operating system, its feature updates show a Linux operating system that is incorporating new technologies such as Docker, Cloud Foundry, and Hadoop, as well as making it simpler to provision and deploy services in the cloud with Juju. This helps make Ubuntu a Linux distribution that organizations choose for its capabilities, not because it’s a default.

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About the Author

David Hamilton is a technology journalist and Contributing Editor of the WHIR. Based in Toronto, David has covered the hosting industry internationally for the WHIR with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. He has written for the National Post and other news outlets, and is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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