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Canonical Aims Koala at Amazon Cloud

Ubuntu aims to keep free software at the forefront of cloud computing

Last Friday Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth dubbed the next turn of Ubuntu “Karmic Koala,” the future Ubuntu 9.10 due in October, and immediately pointed its server side to the cloud.

“Ubuntu,” he said on a blog, “aims to keep free software at the forefront of cloud computing by embracing the APIs of Amazon EC2, and making it easy for anybody to setup their own cloud using entirely open tools. We’re currently in beta with official Ubuntu base AMIs [Amazon Machine Images] for use on Amazon EC2. During the Karmic cycle we want to make it easy to deploy applications into the cloud, with ready-to-run appliances or by quickly assembling a custom image. Ubuntu-vmbuilder makes it easy to create a custom AMI today, but a portfolio of standard image profiles will allow easier collaboration between people doing similar things on EC2.”

Besides prioritizing Amazon, Shuttleworth offered the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Xen-based Eucalyptus Project as an open source alternative.

“What if you want to build an EC2-style cloud of your own?” Shuttleworth asked. “Of all the trees in the wood, a Koala’s favorite leaf is eucalyptus. The Eucalyptus Project, from UCSB, enables you to create an EC2-style cloud in your own data center, on your own hardware. It’s no coincidence that Eucalyptus has just been uploaded to universe and will be part of Jaunty [Ubuntu 9.04 now in alpha] – during the Karmic cycle we expect to make those clouds dance, with dynamically growing and shrinking resource allocations depending on your needs. A savvy Koala knows that the best way to conserve energy is to go to sleep, and these days even servers can suspend and resume, so imagine if we could make it possible to build a cloud computing facility that drops its energy use virtually to zero by napping in the midday heat, and waking up when there’s work to be done. No need to drink at the energy fountain when there’s nothing going on. If we get all of this right, our Koala will help take the edge off the bear market.”

The Koala desktop is very focused on netbook compatibility, faster boot time and the promise of a new designer look.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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