Canonical Expands Ubuntu’s Container and OpenStack SDN Capabilities

Latest release enables live migration of containers, supports OpenStack’s Kilo project

Michael Vizard

April 22, 2015

2 Min Read
Canonical Expands Ubuntu’s Container and OpenStack SDN Capabilities
Canonical booth at the 2014 OpenStack summit in Paris (Photo: Yevgeniy Sverdlik)

Looking to make its distribution of Linux the preferred platform for next-generation data centers Canonical released an update to Ubuntu that strengthens its ability to support Docker containers and software-defined networking (SDN) environments.

Version 15.04 of Ubuntu adds formal support for an LXD hypervisor that Canonical created to make it easier to run containers in isolation. While there is a lot of debate about where containers should run, Mark Baker, product manager for OpenStack and Ubuntu at Canonical, says LXD hypervisor provides a light-weight way to deploy Docker containers on top of a virtual machine platform without creating a lot of unnecessary processing overhead.

At the same time, Canonical is using this interim release of Ubuntu to strengthen its ties to OpenStack. Version 15.04 for Ubuntu adds support for Kilo, an SDN project that is a component of OpenStack. To complement that effort Canonical has also included in this release of Ubuntu support for ZeroMQ (0MQ) as a brokerless messaging system.

Finally, with this release Canonical has also formally added support for Snappy Ubuntu Core, a transactional implementation of its operating system that makes it easier to add and rollback application updates.

Baker says that one of the things that distinguishes Ubuntu is that LCD hypervisors are designed to run as a daemon in user space. As such, it’s possible for each implementation of LCD to be addressed by its own RESTful application programming interface (API). That capability should enable IT organization to begin making use of live migration of containers within a data center environment in much the same way IT administrators move traditional virtual machines around the enterprise, says Baker.

For all those reasons Baker says adoption of Ubuntu in data centers running Docker containers has been particularly strong.

“We’ve been doing a lot of early work in containers,” says Baker. “There are six times as many Docker implementations on top of Ubuntu than any other platform.”

With the rise of containers providers of operating systems of all types see a major opportunity to upend the status quo inside the average data center. As developers continue to employ containers, the need for large operating systems to support legacy virtual machines is giving way to a new generation of lighter-weight operating systems that drive utilization rates of servers significantly higher.

It remains to be seen how rapidly this new generation of operating systems will be employed inside and outside of the cloud. But the one thing that is clear is that amount of operating system diversity inside the data center is going to increase.

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