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Ubuntu signs HP as heavy-metal support act

Pair enter pact for x86, ARMed Linux cloud tour

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Canonical's cloudy ambitions and Metal-as-a-Service vision for Ubuntu have landed the muscular backing of Hewlett-Packard.

HP will certify Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server, due to land on 26 April, for selected ProLiant servers, making this the first time users of the Linux distro can receive HP's hardware warranty support. Newer ProLiant servers will be added to the list after the launch.

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth hinted heavily of the HP endorsement when he unveiled Canonical's server provisioning and allocation software for MaaS earlier this month.

Although it's compatible with Intel's x86 architecture now, Canonical and HP have their eyes firmly fixed on the prospect of servers packed with dense racks of ARM-powered kit running massive web properties and workloads.

In statement announcing the news, the companies said: "The collaboration is designed to meet the needs of hyperscale customers and to keep Canonical and HP actively engaged in the merging category of servers based on ARM chip designs."

Canonical chief executive Jane Silber said the agreement validates the company's decision to "focus on the technologies that will underpin the next generation of data centers".

Ubuntu 11.10, released in October last year, included a server variant that would boot on ARM-based machines. The MaaS build will run on x86 with ARM support added for "specific vendors".

HP, meanwhile, plans on extending the ProLiant line to the ARM architecture using chips from Calxeda under its Redstone Server Development Platform.

Announcing the Ubuntu support, HP said it offered scalability and flexibly in managing big data, cloud and hypersale applications. ®

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