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Canonical rolls out home-grown Ubuntu OpenStack distro

OpenStack's winners: 'People like us and Red Hat and HP'

Exclusive Canonical is spinning its own OpenStack distro to simplify deployment of Linux clouds and ensure its place in an expected cloud winners' club.

Mark Shuttleworth’s firm is today expected to roll the beta of its Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu OpenStack.

Canonical is also promising rapid set-up of its cloud using an automation tool.

The goal is for Canonical’s cloud to install on your preference of storage, networking and hypervisor, where it will manage and monitor set-up.

Configuration is via a web-based UI and is supposed to make things simpler than either fiddling with the bits yourself or paying an expensive consultant to do it.

Support currently extends to KVM, Ceph and Swift storage, and iSCSI.

The glue is a reference architecture Canonical designed that pulls the bits together and which the company claims will scale to an unlimited number of machines.

A free download is available for up to 10 servers and version one is expected around the time the next Ubuntu, Vivid Vervet, is released in April 2015.

Charging will be according to size of customers; Canonical did not reveal details, but said it would be on per-node or availability zones.

The idea is Canonical adds more validated configurations and more storage, networking and hypervisor options for selection through the interface.

“Our goal is to make OpenStack very easy,” Canonical server and cloud product manager Mark Baker told The Reg. “Customers want to take any component at any level in the architecture and swap it with little or no impacts on their business.”

More tech firms are have taken to offering either their own-labelled OpenStack distro, OpenStack consulting, or their own distro plus consulting and support.

Mirantis offers the latter and last week landed a record in funding - $100m.

Before that, Red Hat, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard have taken on their own-labelled distro.

HP, whose cloud service actually runs on Ubuntu Linux, yesterday launched the free, community edition of its OpenStack spin – Helion.

It offers a sub-set of the enterprise features, scale and support and lacks the love for third-party hypervisors, databases and software planned in the commercial edition.

Baker reckoned “most” other OpenStack distros are offering customers choices to ensure adoption of their technologies and solutions.

That said, the field is thickening with OpenStack distros and there will be a shake-out as winners quickly begin to emerge.

Canonical is gambling that its systems' engineering chops will place it in the pack of an expected few winners in the race to sell and support OpenStack.

“Lots of people we speak to... think OpenStack will bubble down to two or three players and everybody else. The view is that because of the complexity involved, because of its core infrastructure, it will be people who have deep understanding of that deep infrastructure, and that’s going to be people who understand hardware, software and operating systems – that means people like us and Red Hat and HP,” Baker said. ®

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