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Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Advances Canonical's Cloud, Kubernetes Strategy

Saturday Apr 28th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

Canonical execs claim that Ubuntu is gaining ground against rival Red Hat as new Long Term Support server release debuts.

Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux project, officially announced the launch of Ubuntu 18.04 on April 26.

The new release, dubbed the Bionic Beaver, is a Long Term Support (LTS) milestone and will be supported by Canonical for at least the next five years. The 18.04 LTS release is the first LTS since Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in April 2016. Enterprises and cloud providers alike rely on the LTS releases as the stable base on which other services, including OpenStack and Kubernetes, are deployed.

"The majority of all public cloud workloads across Amazon, Google, Oracle and Microsoft are Ubuntu workloads," Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical and founder of Ubuntu Linux, said during a press launch event.

Shuttleworth added that in each release of Ubuntu there are new capabilities introduced that create opportunities and efficiencies for public cloud operators and their users. In Ubuntu 18.04, Shuttleworth said there are multiple performance optimizations, including boot time optimizations, that will have a direct impact on cloud operations.

Kubernetes is a core part of the Ubuntu 18.04 server strategy as well. Shuttleworth said Canonical's goal is to help scale Kubernetes where a developer might be working on Kubernetes offline on a train or in a plane, all the way up to a rack where they might have bare metal as well as out to the public cloud services.

"Economically, we see Kubernetes as a commodity, so we price it as part of support package for Ubuntu and not as extra," Shuttleworth said.

With Ubuntu 18.04, there is also support for the OpenStack Queens release, though Shuttleworth sees OpenStack increasingly being used together with Kubernetes.

"The emerging cloud pattern is for multi-cloud operations using Kubernetes as the transport layer to move applications between different clouds," Shuttleworth said.

LXD 3.0

Ubuntu 18.04 also includes the LXD 3.0 container hypervisor technology. Ubuntu first announced LXD back in November 2014 and has continued to develop the technology ever since.

Shuttleworth explained LXD 3.0 is a class of machine or system container that behaves much like a traditional virtual machine so legacy workloads can be managed without modification. He noted that when applications move from legacy virtual machine technologies to LXD there is a boost in performance, density and responsiveness.

Vs. Red Hat

Another area where LXD can help is securing older Linux workloads. Shuttleworth took specific aim at rival Linux vendor Red Hat here, noting that a user of the older Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.x (RHEL) operating system could run the system through Ubuntu's Physical to Container (PtoC) tool and end up with a RHEL LXD container running on a modern Ubuntu kernel.

A key reason why an organization might do that, according to Shuttleworth, is due to the fact that the older RHEL releases don't have kernels that have been patched for the recent Spectre and Meltdown CPU flaws.

"So you can almost magically convert an old RHEL 4 machine, which is a kernel that won't get those fixes into a machine that is still running RHEL 4, but gets the benefit of a modern kernel, including Meltdown and Spectre fixes," Shuttleworth said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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