Ubuntu's Ties to OpenStack Bring it to IBM's Servers and Beyond

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 27, 2014

It's no secret that Ubuntu Linux already has a disproportionately large presence in the OpenStack arena. Within the OpenStack ecosystem, users go with Ubuntu 55 percent of the time as their host operating system, according to the OpenStack Foundation's survey, a surprising statistic that Matt Asay discussed in a recent post. And, as Canonical announced several months ago, its OpenStack Interoperability Lab is playing a key role in how many enterprises gain confidence in deploying OpenStack.

But to really ensure its future in the OpenStack arena, Ubuntu needs to run on non-x86 hardware platforms. That's why Canonical has announced full support for IBM POWER8 machines on Ubuntu Cloud.

POWER8 is IBM's platform for wooing enterprise users interested in Big Data and fast performance. In early June, Canonical announced the official general availability of Power8 servers running Ubuntu.

As The VAR Guy notes:

"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are also now compatible with POWER8, so to a certain extent, Canonical's keenness for ensuring broad compatibility between the hardware platform and Ubuntu is simply about remaining competitive against other open source server and cloud operating systems. But by building the entire Ubuntu software repositories for POWER8, Canonical is also positioning itself to hold on to its lead within the OpenStack market—as well as to develop new strengths in the evolving Big Data world."

 Red Hat is emerging as a big competitor to Canonical in the OpenStack race. Red Hat has been deepening its ties with Dell in offering hardware that comes pre-loaded with Red Hat's Linux and OpenStack platforms.  Red Hat has a far reaching deal with Dell in which Dell will effectively become an OEM for Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, by selling systems that run it. Canonical has to keep up with these hardware and software mashups, and is focused on doing so on the POWER8 platform. 

Ubuntu's evolution has become ever more tied to cloud computing, and its development cycle is now even tied to the development cycle of OpenStack. Look for OpenStack to play an ever more central role in how Ubuntu is developed over time, and which hardware platforms it is optimized for.