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Dell aims for cloudy orbit with Sputnik Ubuntu developer project

An even cloudier ultrabook? We'll make it so, says Dell

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Dell is taking another stab at making the Sputnik Ultrabook it converted from Windows to Ubuntu even cloudier for developers.

The company said on Tuesday it has committed fresh engineering brains to the Sputnik project to help iron out remaining wrinkles.

Dell has also enlisted open-source virtualization start up Docker to try and improve the ability to build, test and deploy apps to VMware and OpenStack.

Code for a profile tool repository has been posted to GitHib and is open for evaluation, testing and feedback from the community until December 3.

Sputnik project captain Barton George, Dell web vertical sector director, blogged it was all systems go following false starts.

“We garnered a fair amount of attention and made some progress but unfortunately not as much as I would have liked. I am very happy to report therefore that recently we have put together an intrepid group of developers and architects within Dell to pick up the profile tool charge,” George said.

Those joining Sputnik include one of the engineers from Enstratius, the cloud-management specialist bought by Dell in May, members from Dell Services' office of the CTO, as well as the Dell Cloud Services development and architecture team.

Enstratius' team have also switched to using the Dell XPS 13 developer edition as their primary laptop.

Dell is also now working with engineers Docker to consult on and implement that company’s Profile Tool for building virtual apps.

Profiles are one of the two main keys to Sputnik as a cloud-developer tool. Last year Sputnik came with a profile that let you save the state and contents of your laptop to a remote repository for safe keeping and replication.

Docker, called dotCloud before it rebranded, is an open-source project that lets you create and ship any application as a lightweight container. According to Docker, any container you build and test on (for example) a laptop will run at full scale on a production server, on VMware, OpenStack and baremetal servers.

The inference, therefore, is that by working with Dell Docker will let you build, test, package and deploy these virtualized apps using Sputnik as the launch pad.

The other big thing about Sputnik was the ability to build a simulated cloud on your system using Ubutu’s JuJu, which abstracts deployment.

George promised changes further changes on this front, too.

“While you can currently use Linux containers and JuJu to get your apps into the clouds, we are working on a version that will provide even greater automation. This will be phase II after we get the profile tool a bit further along,” he said. ®

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