Five reasons why Ubuntu Server is an emerging force in cloud business

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While recently reading through a few articles on the web about cloud computing, I started to reflect on why many businesses are now choosing Ubuntu Server to deploy cloud environments. Some companies are also recognizing its potential as a solid option for daily purpose servers (including FTP servers, Apache or Nginx web servers, mail servers, domain name servers, firewalls and so forth).

There are plenty of reasons to mention, and in this post I will go over five features that I consider the most attractive when deciding what to use for deployments.

 1. Ubuntu Server offers Long Term Support

Every two years, Ubuntu Server is released in a Long Term Support (LTS) format. What does this mean? LTS provides users with updates from official repositories for five years after a release date (the latest is version 14.04, released in April). This is very important because it gives users peace of mind that they will be protected if any kind of vulnerability is discovered in current or upcoming software versions.

 2. Canonical offers several management and support tools for Ubuntu Server

Anyone who is familiar with this Debian-based distribution has heard of Juju or Metal as a Service (MAAS). Juju is an orchestrator that helps you manage and maintain your environments. It works for OpenStack deployments as well as apps, services and scalabilty in general. MAAS is another tool that brings the cloud computing world to bare metal servers and makes it easy to scale physical machines—as easy as asking MAAS to deploy another instance of a cluster with certain hardware specs. For those of you who are familiar with platform as a service (PaaS) providers like Cloud Foundry, this follows the same concept as Bosh or well-known automating tools in the market like Chef or Puppet.

 3. Ubuntu Server is highly compatible

Ubuntu Server is a public cloud certified operating system for most infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers, including IBM SoftLayer. This is important when you think about the future. For example, if you’re considering a potential migration from an IaaS provider, you don’t need to worry whether Ubuntu Server will be provided or not.

Also, Ubuntu is certified with the most important hardware vendors in the market. Earlier this year, IBM committed to support Ubuntu Server on POWER8 servers. This was a big step for IBM and Canonical, considering the future impact this distribution has in the cloud market alongside OpenStack and IBM PowerKVM. Here is a nice demo of Ubuntu Server running on POWER8 using Juju, delivered by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth and IBM general manager Doug Balog during a keynote at IBM Impact.

4. Ubuntu Server is offered at no cost

You can download the image from the Canonical portal and have access to their repositories at no charge; a paid subscription for support is optional. For IaaS sites like SoftLayer, there is no charge for hourly and monthly options for cloud computing instances (CCIs).


What is included with the paid optional support? The Ubuntu Advantage provides access to Ubuntu experts in areas like OpenStack for problem resolution, and access to Lanscape, a very nice tool to manage updates for your servers. It also allows you to have all your devices in one graphical console for monitoring.

 5. Ubuntu is the leading technology for OpenStack deployments

As Mark Shuttleworth is credited with noting in this article on ZDNet, Ubuntu accounts for more than 50 percent of operating system deployments. This has garnered a lot the attention in the cloud era. Canonical has its own image, Ubuntu Cloud, that includes the latest version of OpenStack (14.04 LTS with OpenStack Icehouse) already on it, and their releases are synchronized, so you always get the latest versions together.

What is the best match for your infrastructure and your budget? Though only you can answer that question, I have just provided five reasons why Ubuntu Server has earned fans and should be considered.

Get in touch with me on Twitter @ovegarod or leave a comment below to let me know if this was interesting and helpful. In the future, I may discuss more Linux distributions like Red Hat and SUSE.

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