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Upcoming Stable Ubuntu Release Aimed at Enabling Agile Enterprise Clouds

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Canonical is set to release Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, the long-term supported version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, on Thursday, April 17, 2014. This version features some key advances in reliability, performance and interoperability that many anticipate will help power many cloud services for years to come.

“Ubuntu is the primary platform for cloud – public, private or hybrid,” Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said in a statement. “In this release, our third LTS with deep roots in cloud, we raise the bar for efficiency and orchestration at scale.”

Ubuntu release numbers are based on the last two digits of the year, and the month number. For instance, the last long-term support release was Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS, released in April 2012. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will be supported and maintained for the next five years, which is a crucial requirement for many businesses adopting a new technology.

Building Deep Ties with OpenStack and Stack Partners

Many users of the open-source cloud project OpenStack have gotten it via Canonical’s Ubuntu Cloud Archive, including the latest version of OpenStack, “Icehouse”.

Author and OpenStack community leader Kevin Jackson stated, “14.04 LTS with Icehouse is much anticipated by the OpenStack community as offering the right blend of stability and access to the latest cloud capabilities.”

According to Canonical, Ubuntu is the most interoperable OpenStack platform, assuring users that different combinations of Ubuntu, OpenStack and third party technologies can work reliably. This interoperability is largely due to the cooperation between OpenStack Interop Lab (OIL) partners such as Cisco, Brocade, Dell, EMC, Fusion-io, HP, IBM, Intel, Juniper, and VMware.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS introduces support for IBM Power Systems and POWER, IBM’s open architecture for applications such as big data, analytics and cognitive computing.

The new release will also help users take advantage of new architectures based around systems using non-standard processors including ARM64. Ubuntu is also the first commercial enterprise platform for hyperscale ARM64 computing, which allows systems to scale as increased demand is added to the system. Applied Micro’s ARM-based 64-bit cloud platform known as “X-Gene” will be the first such system certified for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Making Deployment More Agile

For the added agility to quickly design, deploy and scale services, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS features new versions of Ubuntu orchestration tool Juju and MAAS, a service that makes it easy to set up the bare-metal hardware on which to deploy services. This can be especially useful in DevOps and other continuous deployment scenarios.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS also integrates the latest container technologies from Docker and LXC, OpenVSwitch networking, and Ceph storage to provide a more complete suite of solutions.

Companies using Ubuntu OpenStack as part of their service strategies include Time Warner Cable, European cloud service provider Numergy, Japanese IT services provider NEC, and the NTT Software Innovation Center.

As some have noted, the latest Ubuntu release features enterprise-friendly features typical of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. But this sort of competition is inevitable as larger organizations seek out open-source solutions for various problems. This competition is also bound to help create OS features that meet the needs of enterprises as they shift towards the cloud.

About the Author

David Hamilton is a Toronto-based technology journalist who has written for the National Post and other news outlets. He has covered the hosting industry internationally for the Web Host Industry Review with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. David is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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