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Ubuntu To Provide Open Source Private Cloud Infrastructure

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Project, has announced via the Ubuntu Development List that Ubuntu Server 9.10, which will be available in October 2009, will allow companies to build their own open source, private clouds. Mark explains in his announcement, “Ubuntu aims to keep free software at the forefront of cloud computing by embracing the API’s of Amazon EC2, and making it easy for anybody to setup their own cloud using entirely open tools.” Mark states that official Ubuntu based revisions of Amazon Machine Images (AMI), the operating system and software stack currently deployed on Xen Server in the EC2 cloud, are currently in beta.

However, Mark indicates that plans for the new Ubuntu Server include more than just providing for the hosted Amazon Cloud service:

“What if you want to build an EC2-style cloud of your own? Of all the trees in the wood, a Koala’s favourite leaf is Eucalyptus. The Eucalyptus project, from UCSB, enables you to create an EC2-style cloud in your own data center, on your own hardware.”

Ubuntu 9.10 ‘s official distribution name will be “Karmic Koala” thus explaining the mascot refrence in the previous quote. (I can’t help but think about dining at the Rainforest Cafe when considering all of the Ubuntu distro names and mascots!) Eucalyptus is a cloud management interface in development by Ubuntu which will enable private EC2 style clouds. Eucalyptus is actually an acronym for

“Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems” (*cough, cough* my throat is sore from having to say that acronym. I need a lozenge. Who comes up with this stuff ??!!). :)

The Ubuntu cloud management tools are being developed at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) where a public test-drive is already available. The Eucalyptus Wiki states “the public cloud is available to any user who would like to start VM instances, log into them, test applications inside the instances, and monitor their status.”

The web site already has several documentation links including presentations and publications along with administrator and user guides. Of particular interest to me is the publication tiled The Eucalyptus Open-source Cloud-computing System which provides a project overview and outlines Ubuntu’s cloud infrastructure design. The PDF mentions future expansion designs to include support of VMware products along with several other virtualization platforms.

“In essence, the system allows users to start, control, access, and terminate entire virtual machines using an emulation of Amazon EC2’s SOAP and Query interfaces. That is, users of EUCALYPTUS interact with the system using the exact same tools and interfaces that they use to interact with Amazon EC2. Currently, we support VMs that run atop the Xen hypervisor, but plan to add support for KVM/QEMU, VMware, and others in the
near future.”

Be sure to read all of Mark’s announcement and check out the Eucalyptus Wiki for more on Ubuntu Server 9.10 based clouds. The announcement also previews some exciting performance and appearance changes for the new Ubuntu desktop versions too.

Ubuntu 9.04 is currently the next version of server and desktop due for release in April 2009.

For additional reading on Ubuntu’s free cloud computing plans check out Shuttleworth gets cloudy with Ubuntu 9.10 from

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