Every six months, Ubuntu Linux comes out with a new server release. It is however only once every two years that one of those releases is labeled as an Long Term Support (LTS) release.
The Ubuntu 13.04, aka The Raring Ringtail release, is out today and is a standard (non-LTS) release. The difference between an LTS release and a standard release is support length, which is a big deal for server users in production. LTS releases receive five years of support, while standard releases only get 9 months.
Mark Baker, Ubuntu Server Product Manager at Canonical, explained to ServerWatch that the 'Raring' release is an interim release where new items are brought in with the goal of them landing in a future LTS.
In the case of some of the new items in Ubuntu 13.04, several key ones will be made available to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS server users as well.
Ubuntu 13.04 features the latest OpenStack Grizzly cloud platform release, including new high-availability features baked in by Ubuntu.
Baker explained that the high-availability capability that Ubuntu is providing involves the MySQL database and Rabbit MQ messaging server. Prior to the new update, Ubuntu's Juju system would only install one MySQL database and a single Rabbit node.
"That's clearly a single point of failure," Baker said. "So what we've done is when you deploy OpenStack using Juju, you can now specify high-availability and it will set up HA pairs of MySQL and Rabbit."
The OpenStack Grizzly update as well as the high-availability setup are being made available for existing Ubuntu 12.04 LTS users as well.
"A lot of the work for 13.04 cycle is is equally beneficial for people running on 12.04," Baker said. "That's just a reflection of a lot of the customers we have running their OpenStack clouds today on 12.04."
In addition to the cloud updates, the Ubuntu 13.04 release upgrades multiple application packages to their latest versions. There are also new levels of hardware enablement due to the inclusion of a newer kernel and new drivers in Ubuntu 13.04.
"That's all part of the Ubuntu goodness," Baker said. "Everything gets updated every six months."
While 13.04 is the most recent release of Ubuntu Server, Baker doesn't expect existing LTS users to migrate.
"If you're an OpenStack user and you're looking at putting it into production today, there is not going to be any real compelling reasons to go from 12.04 to 13.04," Baker said. "In the client space there are many more reasons with user interface improvements."
In the server space, Ubuntu 13.04 has a newer Linux 3.8 kernel that providies some new hardware support.
"12.04 is only a year old, so it's not a dinosaur by any means," Baker said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.