OpenStack is the future for Ubuntu clouds
Previously, Ubuntu had used Eucalyptus as its core cloud technology. Eucalyptus was incorporated into Ubuntu 9.04 in 2009 as the foundation for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud product; Eucalyptus replicates the APIs of Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). OpenStack emerged in July 2010 from development work done between NASA and Rackspace with the aim of creating an open standards, community-driven cloud platform. OpenStack is currently supported by over sixty companies including Dell, Intel, AMD, Citrix, NTT, RightScale, Puppet Labs and Canonical. Canonical announced a technology preview of OpenStack technology in Ubuntu 11.04 and integrated the latest version of OpenStack (Cactus) into the release.
Explaining why OpenStack had been selected, Canonical's Robbie Williamson said: "we interact a lot better with OpenStack". One of the threads in Canonical's future plans is support for ARM servers; the company is looking at running Ubuntu Cloud on low-power ARM-based servers in the future as they can solve many of the issues that surround the modern data centre. But Canonical needed support for the ARM platform; with Eucalyptus, this depended on them waiting for Eucalyptus to do the engineering which they weren't doing, but with OpenStack they were able to develop their own solution for ARM support and commit the changes upstream to the project.
Williamson pointed out that the company would be producing a Long Term Support (LTS) release (12.04) in April of next year and said the developers wanted a release under their belt before that with 11.10. The decision will take full effect from Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneric Ocelot"; when users deploy Ubuntu Cloud servers, 11.10 will default to using OpenStack.
Existing Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) users and Eucalyptus users will not be left behind in the migration though. Williamson said that he expects, if the engineering happens on schedule, that Ubuntu 11.10 will have Eucalyptus 3.0 (due for release in August) and that Ubuntu 10.04 LTS UEC users will be supported until 2015. Tools also being developed in the current six monthly cycle will include migration tools for UEC users who want to switch to an OpenStack-based platform for the future.