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Ubuntu promises DIY Amazon cloud

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OSBC Next month should see the first steps from the Canonical camp that will let you run an Amazon-style cloud behind the firewall on Ubuntu.

The Jaunty Jackalope edition of Ubuntu, version 9.04, due in April, will let you take existing Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) from Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and run them on your own Ubuntu servers.

The development comes after some early adopters began running Ubuntu on Amazon, even though a certified image for the service providers' cloud doesn't exist.

The plan with Ubuntu is to target serious business users who like the idea of the cloud, with its virtualized computing resources, but who want to retain control over the servers, the computing cycles, their applications, and their data.

Canonical's director of support and services Steve George speaking to The Reg at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco called Jaunty Jackalope's cloud capability an initial technology release. Full features are planned for Ubuntu 9.10 - called Karmic Koala and expected in October.

Expected to be missing from Jaunty Jackalope will be the fabric-computing layer that would let you tset policies, such as how and where you deploy the Amazon application.

George promised a series of improvements in this fabric-computing layer during the year. He added the target users for this are service providers and enterprises like large financial services companies who could run Amazon-capable clouds using Ubuntu behind a firewall.

The goal is to make Ubuntu Amazon-ready for developers champing to get a bit of EC2 action but who are constrained by working inside large and conservative organizations that place restrictions on what applications and data can be run outside their firewall on a third-party's service.

"The development departments are incredibly excited about cloud computing, and operations departments are concerned about risk control and management. They don't get brownie points for using the latest and greatest technology, they get brownie points for having applications that are maintained and viable," George said.

"Any development you've done on EC2, you will be able to take those system images and drop those into your internal [Ubuntu] cloud." ®

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