Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, is gearing up to launch a new series of support and services offerings for enterprise desktop and server users.
On Monday, Canonical is set to officially announce its Ubuntu Advantage program, which combines support, legal indemnification and management into a cohesive services offering.
"Ubuntu Advantage replaces other support offerings. It is now our primary services offering," Fern Ho, Canonical's Ubuntu Advantage product manager, told InternetNews.com. "We do however still offer technical consulting and training services in addition to Ubuntu Advantage."
Ho added that Ubuntu Advantage is a support and services offering for any standard or LTS version of Ubuntu within its lifecycle.
A key part of the Ubuntu Advantage program is the inclusion of the Canonical Landscape management offering as an integrated part of the solution. Canonical recently upgraded Landscape to provide improved cloud and provisioning capabilities. Prior to the Advantage release, enterprises could have chosen to purchase Landscape separately from the support offering, but that's now changing.
"There is actually no longer the option to purchase Ubuntu support and Landscape separately," Ho said. "As these two services are together critical in ensuring efficient use and management of the Ubuntu platform, we decided to bring them together in a single offering for simplicity."
Ubuntu Advantage customers will also receive the assurance of indemnification from Canonical protecting them against any potential legal issues. The legal indemnification is the same that Canonical had previously been making available to its paying support customers. Rival Linux distributions Red Hat and Novell also both provide their enterprise customers with legal indemnifications.
"We have maintained this offering because we understand that it provides an important level of comfort and eases in the adoption of Ubuntu for many organizations," Ho said.
Another key component that Canonical is including as part of Ubuntu Advantage is support for Windows integration. Canonical recognized that Ubuntu is often deployed into networks where there are existing Microsoft Windows assets, which created additional complexity for its customers.
"This can be tricky to integrate so we help them overcome this integration hurdle with support and advice on best practices integration, making it even easier for all organizations to adopt Ubuntu as an alternative platform," Ho said.
The Ubuntu Advantage support offering is all part of Canonical's larger efforts to grow its commercial business. Ho noted that with Ubuntu Advantage, Canonical is not specifically aiming for feature parity with Red Hat or other enterprise Linux vendors.
"What we were aiming for with Ubuntu Advantage is to give enterprises an added edge in their use of the Ubuntu platform," Ho said. "To continue to support the position of Ubuntu as an alternative Linux platform, we wanted to provide businesses with all the necessary tools, knowledge and services in order for them to effectively and comfortably use Ubuntu to support business-critical workloads. We wanted to do this as simply as possible for businesses, so we created Ubuntu Advantage as a single service that provides all these things."