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Ubuntu JuJu voodoo casts Linux on Microsoft's Azure hoodoo

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JuJu in Ubuntu 13.10, due for release next week, features tools to create and run Um Bongo Linux instances in Microsoft's Azure cloud.

Previous versions of JuJu allow you to set up and manage Ubuntu instances on Amazon’s EC2 and systems running OpenStack. Now techies can use one toolkit to run Ubuntu Linux virtual machines on those providers plus Redmond's off-premises cloud.

JuJu can automate the job of provisioning Ubuntu server instances, deploying them to run within the capabilities and restrictions of Amazon, OpenStack and, now, Windows Azure.

Ubuntu-maker Canonical seems to believe that Azure is starting to become more of a realistic force in cloud computing, having come from a long way behind.

Microsoft introduced the ability to run Linux distros inside virtual machines on its fledgling service in July 2012. Windows Azure supports Ubuntu, CentOS and OpenSuSE.

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth told The Reg Azure gives his outfit the opportunity to sell Ubuntu's management tools and services to a slightly wider world.

“It’s important for us to work well on all the clouds,” he said.

The latest JuJu can squeeze multiple systems inside a server virtual machine using so-called Linux Containers (LXC), described as "chroot on steroids". Specifically, the latest build of the toolkit harnesses Canonical-funded development work on LXC in the areas of namespaces and C-groups.

Each container holds a user-space Linux instance, and a bunch of containers share the same kernel and run in the same virtual machine; it allows you to avoid one virtual machine per workload, which'll save you money by packing more into one virtual machine, said Shuttleworth.

That means you don’t have to spin up dedicated virty machines for small workloads. And it’s believed the containers are secure, so that user software running in the instances can't damage code in another container.

“We are almost at the point where you can give somebody root inside one of these containers and as long as the container is secure they can’t break out,” Shuttleworth said. “That’s useful on ARM: say here’s a cluster of servers with 250 nodes, but you can create 1,000 nodes just by putting four containers on [each node] and you don’t have the heavy weight overhead of [hypervisors] Zen or KVM.” ®

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