Canonical Looks To Clouds With Next Ubuntu Server

Ubuntu Server 9.04 features a new version of KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) that facilitates live migration of virtual machines, as well as broader cluster support for file serving and deeper integration with Microsoft systems, said Steve George, director of support and services at Canonical.

Ubuntu Server 9.04 lets developers build applications for the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and use Ubuntu as the operating system and delivery platform, according to George. "The APIs and delivery mechanism are compatible with EC2. Developers can build an application and deploy it through Amazon, and select Ubuntu to be the operating system layer," he said.

Ubuntu Server also includes clustering software for building private computing clouds, a feature that's likely to appeal to large organizations that have security policies that preclude the use of public cloud infrastructure, George said. "You can take Ubuntu Server, install it on number of servers in your data center and then set up these servers to form a cloud. It's basically a cluster of systems with a cloud controller on top," he said.

"This lets you set up your own computing cloud with whatever machines you have handy in your own network," said Thor Mirchandani, president of Presens Technologies, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based solution provider.

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"Previously, you had to test in production and you had to set up a server on Amazon and run it there. The clock would be ticking and you would be charged," Mirchandani said. "But now, you can develop applications in-house on private infrastructure and then deploy them when they're ready."

Canonical already has a substantial number of users in the beta, and plans are to beef up this functionality even further with the Ubtunu Server 9.10 release that's slated for October, George said.