Ubuntu's Magical Approach to OpenStack [Video]

Mark Shuttleworth explains where his Linux company's OpenStack cloud is headed and why Juju is the charm that makes it happen.

PORTLAND. Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth was among the earliest backers of the open source OpenStack cloud platform. The early OpenStack releases relied on Ubuntu as its reference Linux distribution and Ubuntu has been packaging OpenStack since its 11.04 Natty Narwal release in 2011.

In an exclusive interview with Datamation at the OpenStack Summit, Shuttleworth talks about OpenStack in production environments and why a little magic known as Juju is a pivotal part of it all.

"Ubuntu has a particularly special relationship with OpenStack, we have been the default platform from the beginning," Shuttleworth said. "It has been and it still is, much easier to bring up OpenStack on Ubuntu than on any other platform."

As a result of Ubuntu's OpenStack positioning, over the course of the last several years, Ubuntu has gained a good deal of experience into what it takes to run the cloud in production. In particular, Ubuntu has found success in the telco space.

"In the G8 countries, either the number one or the number two telco is building an OpenStack cloud on Ubuntu," Shuttleworth said. "So we have very deep exposure to planning and deployment, test, internal production and public cloud purposes across folks that take enterprise computing very, very seriously."

VMware Partnership

While some might think of VMware as being a competitive force against OpenStack, Shuttleworth is partnering with VMware to enable OpenStack.

"From a commercial point of view, if you are an enterprise or a carrier that has a large VMware ESX property you can now Juju deploy OpenStack," Shuttleworth said. "With a single command you can Juju deploy a connector into vSphere and you will get support for that."

That partnership is a unique and exclusive partnership, according to Shuttleworth. Juju is an orchestration technology that Ubuntu first debuted in its 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot release in October of 2011. "For some people, they have built their OpenStack clouds six months ago and they built out their ESX infrastructure two years ago," Shuttleworth said. "Without taking down either of those things, they can now type one command and connect those two things."

Juju Magic

The word 'juju' means magic, in the same African languages from which the name Ubuntu itself was derived. Juju itself, however, is not actually magic, it's open source technology.

Magic aside, the question that Shuttleworth asks enterprises is whether Juju would be useful to its DevOps teams. He added that while everyone at the OpenStack Summit is excited about OpenStack, the core question is, What do you do with it?

"For an institution, the faster you can accelerate developer practices, the sooner they'll see value from that," Shuttleworth said.

He added that to get people excited about the OpenStack cloud, don't just sit down with the cloud manager and the sysadmins that will run it, but also include the development team. With Juju, core development tools and resources that are needed, such as a middleware server or a database, are easily and rapidly deployable to the cloud.

"We've taken the first two weeks out of pulling stuff together and having stuff on you laptop and having it in the cloud and now it's all just automated," Shuttleworth explained. "So yeah, that's pretty magic."

Challenges

From an OpenStack perspective, the core project components are now stable. For Shuttleworth the biggest transition is coming in the ecosystem.

Shuttleworth commented that a lot of vendors today feel like they have to set up their own OpenStack solution. In his view, that's not necessarily needed. As an example, Shuttleworth said that a SCSI card driver does not need to have its own Linux kernel. In the Linux ecosystem, the SCSI vendor just needs to get their drivers included in the Linux source code.

Shuttleworth has met with lots of vendors that have worried that they need to build their own OpenStack deployments and have asked if they could just embed the Ubuntu version.

"They realize actually they just need to do a (Juju) Charm and then your stuff plugs into a best practice environment," Shuttleworth said. "That's the equivalent of doing a driver, figuring out how to express just the bits that add your magic and off you go."

Watch the video interview with Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu Linux :

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.




Tags: Linux, cloud computing, Ubuntu, Shuttleworth, OpenStack


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