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Shuttleworth's Ubuntu makes like Space Shuttle

I'm a Rocketman. Again

The numbers

Ubuntu has showed journalists Netcraft trend data on Linux-based hosts worldwide, but the Linux variant they use to host one or more Web sites.

The Netcraft data counts up the total hosts supported by a Web server. Rd hat is flatlining out there on the Intertubes as far as Web site count is concerned, and in the past several months, Ubuntu has hockey-sticked so aggressively that if this was an actual hockey game Canonical would be called for high sticking.

You want to see some stratosphere? Then you would need to take a look at the same data for just the EMEA Web server space.

Novell's SUSE Linux has done better than RHEL for Web serving because it was at least a European distro, even after Novell bought it. But after a very aggressive ramp since the second Ubuntu Server LTS release in 2008, Canonical's Linux reached parity with RHEL and SLES in terms of Web site count and in the past two months has exploded almost straight up.

Maybe Attachmate should have bought Canonical?

Counting clouds

When Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS was launched back in April, Levine said that as far as Canonical could tell from watching unique IP addresses hitting its image repository the first time customers fired up its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud variant, there were 12,000 clouds running its code. (UEC embeds the Eucalyptus framework into the server edition for deploying Xen or KVM virtual machines for hosting virtual server images in a manner that is compatible with Amazon's EC2 compute cloud.) Obviously, the great majority of those UEC clouds were prototypes and proofs-of-concepts, but it is nonetheless a very large number. Levine says that since 10.04 LTS came out in April, the monthly install rate looks to be around 1,200, which means by the end of this year, another 10,000 or so clouds will be fired up.

Even though Canonical will be putting in support for the OpenStack alternative to Eucalyptus with the 11.04 release next year, Levine said that Eucalyptus was the first to market and was more established and is therefore still in demand. It will be interesting to see if over the next few years, Eucalyptus suffers the same fate as the Xen hypervisor, which has been usurped by KVM for both Red Hat and Canonical in their Linux distros.

Levine cautions against such analogies, saying that OpenStack and Eucalyptus "are addressing very different parts of the market." Canonical's philosophy is that whatever customers want to use to build clouds, it wants them to do it with Ubuntu, not RHEL or SLES.

In a related announcement, Canonical and open source virtualization tool maker Convirture are teaming up to take on the ESX Server hypervisor and vCenter console combination from VMware, offering a fully open source alternative. While Canonical has the Landscape tool for managing server images and Ubuntu has the libvirt and virt-manager tools for managing virtual machines, the latter tools are more like applets than they are virtualization management consoles.

And so, Canonical has added the ConVirt 2.0 Open Source console to the Ubuntu Partner Repository, which is the first step perhaps to including it in the full Ubuntu distribution in the future like the Eucalyptus framework is now. ConVirt is a console for provisioning, managing, and monitoring Xen and KVM virtual machines, and as El Reg already told you back in July, it now comes in an Enterprise Edition that has some closed-source features that Ubuntu shops probably want. We're talking about timetable-based provisioning and decommissioning of VMs; role-based access control for admins and multi-tenant security; a command line interface and programmable APIs; high availability and disaster recovery overlays for the Xen and KVM hypervisors; resource limiting; a virtual appliance catalog for self-service VM deployment; and alerting and notification features to bug admins.

If Canonical wanted to do something interesting, it would buy Convirture and merge the Enterprise version of ConVirt 2.0 with its Landscape management tool and embed the open source version in Ubuntu Server. Clearly, Shuttleworth has the money, after shelling out $31.5m for a New York apartment. ®

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