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Back in 2005, IBM's DB2 database software was among the first major enterprise applications to be certified to run on Ubuntu Linux. Five years later, the partnership is expanding, with IBM's DB2 being packaged by Canonical to run as a virtual appliance instance of Ubuntu running in the cloud.
The new IBM DB2 appliance partnership comes as Canonical is ramping up its cloud efforts for both public and private clouds.
"Ubuntu has positioned itself to really help enterprises get up and running with the cloud," Neil Levine, vice president of commercial services at Canonical, told InternetNews.com. "This appliance is for enterprises that want to try out the public cloud with their existing applications."
Levine explained that Canonical is providing a cloud version of IBM DB2 Express-C, the community version of IBM's database software. He said the Express-C version of IBM DB2 is well-suited for a cloud appliance so that enterprises can validate the cloud model for their use cases.
The Ubuntu DB2 appliance is an Amazon AMI (Amazon Machine Image) that can be deployed on the Amazon public cloud. Additionally, Levine noted that users could deploy it on the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) technology powered by the open source Eucalyptus project, which is intended to be AMI-compatible.
In terms of how the appliance itself was built, Levine said that Canonical's engineering team worked with IBM and that it wasn't a simple one-click software build. That said, Levine noted that Canonical has plenty of experience deploying to Amazon.
"We've had a generic Ubuntu machine image on Amazon for a while, so that's what we've leveraged," Levine said. "We've already aced a lot of the rocket science, so the engagement with IBM was relatively pain-free."
Levine added that he's confident that Canonical could replicate the same type of cloud appliance with other major enterprise software vendors as well. He did not however provide any roadmap details about other software vendor appliances that Canonical is might be developing.
Though IBM has partnered with Canonical for a DB2 appliance, it doesn't have an appliance for Ubuntu for the IBM Lotus portfolio of enterprise software yet. IBM currently has a partnership with Ubuntu Linux rival Novell for Lotus appliances.
"This model is something we're in discussions with other IBM brands about," Levine said.
In terms of how Canonical plans to monetize its new DB2 cloud appliance, Levine was unable to provide specific details of the partnership agreement with IBM.
"There is an agreement between us and IBM and we're very happy to have IBM as a strategic partner," Levine said. "Revenue is important but this is about getting Ubuntu into the enterprise. We do have a commercial model in place but we can't talk about it in detail."