Canonical's Ubuntu Delivers New Hypervisor, Lightweight OS, Latest OpenStack

Canonical unveiled on Tuesday the latest release of its Ubuntu operating system featuring innovative features for running Docker containers and securing mobile devices, as well as the upcoming version of OpenStack.

Ubuntu 15.04, which the company said will be ready to download Thursday, adds a new hypervisor -- LXD -- designed for deploying virtual systems that efficiently run Docker. It also is the first release integrating Snappy Ubuntu Core, a lightweight version of the operating system optimized for running Docker in the data center, or mobile devices in the field.

The OpenStack distribution Canonical bundled with 15.04 is the first to market built from the upcoming "Kilo" release of the popular cloud operating system.

[Related: Canonical Releases Ubuntu 14.10 With Tighter Docker and Cloud Foundry Integrations]

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’LXD eliminates the very high virtualisation penalty of traditional hypervisors, making Linux-on-Linux workloads much faster and much more dense,’ said Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's founder, in a statement. ’Containers are the new frontier in virtualisation and cloud. We are delighted to lead with LXD and the integration of containers into OpenStack.’

Snappy Core implements a transactional system for delivering and securely containing apps. According to a Canonical blog, it "sets a new benchmark for density and performance" while allowing quick updates and easy rollbacks.

"It's a big release. A lot of new, innovative features," said Chris Williams, director of technology at Alliance Technology Group, a system integrator based in Hanover, Md.

The LXD hypervisor is one of those innovations, giving partners the "capability to provide a full-machine experience in which administrators can run tools like Docker," Williams said. "It really puts a more-robust container framework in place for Ubuntu users."

Snappy Core is particularly important to his practice. Alliance works with manufacturers who rely on Internet-enabled devices and mobile workforces, two use cases the OS was designed to optimize.

"A lot of our customers are interested in IoT and how to secure appliances they are deploying in the field," Williams told CRN.

The "thin-image install" is "all about delivering apps securely to devices and cloud hosts while providing application and data isolation," he said.

London-based Canonical coordinates its development roadmap with the OpenStack release roadmap.

Kilo -- which will upgrade the open-source software with new features, including federated identity management -- is already circulating. But the latest release won't officially be announced until the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia, takes place in a couple of weeks.

"These releases highlight why Alliance has chosen to partner with Canonical," Williams told CRN. "They're continuing to drive innovation in the market, bringing highly relevant features in a rapidly changing tech ecosystem."