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Ubuntu 11.10 Is DevOps Distilled

Ubuntu 11.10 is now available for free public download. Word on the street is that this iteration of the open source operating system will feature "management and orchestration tools" that DevOps practitioners need to embrace cloud computing. Ubuntu 11.10 introduces Juju (previously codenamed Ensemble) for service deployment and orchestration across multiple cloud infrastructures, large-scale bare-metal deployments, and workstation-based service prototyping.

This is the final release prior to Ubuntu's next Long Term Support (LTS) release, due in April next year. Commercial Ubuntu services supporter Canonical explains that Juju enables infrastructure and service developers to describe the deployment and scaling requirements of their applications to enhance the dialog between developers and ops teams. "Juju can be referred to as DevOps Distilled because it brings such clarity to the development-deployment dialog and process," says the company.

"Ubuntu 11.10 gives forward-looking companies a chance to road-test the cloud and desktop technologies that will change the game for IT cost and performance” says Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "We're thrilled to deliver multiple firsts with this release: a technology pre for the ARM architecture on servers, cloud infrastructure, and Juju service orchestration in the box."

Ubuntu Server 11.10 sees Ubuntu become the first general-purpose, server-focused operating system that supports the ARM architecture. This adds to Ubuntu's existing support for a range of Intel x86 server. ARM support is released as a technology preview, and Canonical says it has done significant work to support the architecture with the core OS and with essential high-volume server applications such as the LAMP stack. The ARM architecture is considered to have the potential to improve the performance per watt density of data centers dramatically. With the choice of Intel x86 and now ARM, Ubuntu Server 11.10 is positioned as a technology capable of giving power-sensitive companies the opportunity to assess the best solution for their requirements.

Canonical has also improved LXC integration in Ubuntu, as well as adding LXC support to OpenStack as a technology preview. LXC offers lightweight workload separation, with improved utilization on all servers and support for all architectures, so for the first time users can start to explore ARM-based clouds. For deployment, Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure is fully supported on x86-based servers.

Gerry Carr, director of communications at Canonical told Dr. Dobbs that, "Although not part of this release, developer.ubuntu.com gives open source developers a great way to write or port applications across to Ubuntu and, critically, get paid for those applications in the Ubuntu Software Centre. Photobomb, for instance, is a great example of a fully open source app, with a $2.99 price tag, meaning the efforts in building out the app can be contributed to financially and easily by users. Ubuntu is a great way for PC-orientated apps to reach their public. We expect to see more and more of this in lifetime of Ubuntu 11.10."

For business desktop users, Ubuntu 11.10 continues to build on the Unity user experience introduced in the April 2011 release of Ubuntu 11.04. Machines with less powerful or modern graphic cards now have Unity in 2D, allowing every user to enjoy the widely acclaimed new interface. Unity is now fully supported on ARM, making extremely low-power and low-cost thin clients possible for large-scale institutional deployments. Another change sees the cross-platform Mozilla Thunderbird replace Evolution, giving users what is labelled as a more up-to-date and feature-rich email client.

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