Canonical is set to release Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed the Oneiric Ocelot this week, with a key focus on the cloud.
Among the cloud-focused technology components that are set to debut in the new Linux distribution is something that Canonical is branding as Juju. With Juju, Ubuntu is aiming to deliver a cloud orchestration technology for server admins.
"Juju allows you to define an application as a service and then define relationships between different services," Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical told InternetNews.com.
Juju was formerly known as Ensemble during much of its development and was renamed in early September. The word 'juju' is a word meaning magic, in the same African languages from which the name Ubuntu itself was derived.
Juju works as an orchestration technology. Baker explained that, for example, with a blog deployment, there are a number of components including a web server, blog application and then a database on the backend. Each of those components are traditionally installed individually and then configured on a server. As administrators want to add capacity, by adding another server or bringing up a cloud instance, the admin would then go through the whole process again.
"What Juju allows you to do is create a Juju bootstrap environment," Baker said. "There are a number of configuration file definitions that we call 'charms'."
For example, an admin could have an Apache charm that includes an Apache web server, that defines what Apache is and where the code can be obtained from. There is also a definition of the relationship between Apache and, for example, the blog application. Juju will then be able to create a new instance in the cloud and automatically build and implement the same relationship on the new deployment.
"If you want to add or decrease capacity, it's a lot easier with Juju," Baker said. "Via the same Juju tool you can add capacity to a cloud or server farm, it's a simple matter to bring that new service into the network."
Baker added that as of the Ubuntu 11.10 launch date, there will be multiple charms available including Apache, MySQL, Wordpress, Tomcat and other common open source server technologies.
Many open source server administrators today use the open source Puppet configuration management technology, which Baker said is complementary to what Juju provides.
"Juju is a framework, you can use it bring an instance up and then hand-off to Puppet to then perform the configuration," Baker said. "Juju could potentially be used as a replacement for Puppet, but that's not the intention."
Canonical already has an enterprise management solution called Landscape that helps organization to manage and deploy Ubuntu. Baker noted that there is a degree of integration between Juju and Landscape.
"You can bring new instances up and auto configure them and have that be recognized by Landscape so you can do package management," Baker said. "Some of the smarter things we have on the roadmap are tighter integration for monitoring and things like capacity requirements."