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Review: Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud

The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is for anyone (personal, SMB, enterprise) needing to either test or deploy a cloud environment.

If you are even remotely considering cloud computing, you owe it to yourself to begin with the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) open source cloud software. There are many reasons for this. Not only is this tool feature-rich, it is also free. If you are only just now trying to decide if you want to deploy a cloud environment, then you do not want to shell out your entire IT budget only to find out if cloud computing is for you (or your company). That is where UEC comes in.

Specifications

  • Controller:
    • Processor: dual processor 2GHz or better
    • RAM: 2GB
    • Hard Drive speed: 7200rpm SATA
    • Hard Drive size: 200GB
    • Networking: 1000Mbps
  • Nodes:
    • Processor: 64-bit multicore
    • RAM: 4GB
    • Hard Drive speed: 7200 rpm SATA or SCSI
    • Hard Drive size: 100GB
    • Networking: 1000Mbps
  • Cost Entry-level coverage for turnkey boxes:
    • 5 physical machines Business hours 9-5 - $4,750/year or 24/7 - $17,500/year
  • Cost Additional packs for turnkey boxes:
    • 1 physical machine Business hours 9-5 - $1,250/year or 24/7 - $3,000/year
  • Free if you have existing hardware
  • Additional vendor information
  • TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is for anyone (personal, SMB, enterprise) needing to either test or deploy a cloud environment. UEC is not only a perfectly capable cloud environment, it is also free.

What problem does it solve?

The biggest problem UEC solves is the determining if a cloud environment is suitable for your needs. By deploying UEC you will only be spending budget on hardware (unless you already have the hardware available) and not on software. This gives the administration a certain freedom they won't have by using a commercial solution.

Standout features

  • Compatibility with Amazon EC2
  • Elastic resources
  • Static IP assignment
  • Both Web-based and command line administration tools
  • SOAP with WS-security for secure communication
  • KVM Hypervisor support

What's wrong?

Although the UEC Web site claims you can have a cloud up and running in around 25 minutes, that is (in most cases) a pipe dream. The setup and configuration of both controller and nodes is demanding and can take up to the better part of a weekend. If you do not read through as much documentation as you need to get fully up to speed, you could lose hair during this process.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you are not sure about deploying a cloud, and want to give it a try without breaking your IT budget, Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is the way to go. Although the installation of both controller and nodes can be quite a challenge, the reward is that you will not have spent a single penny on software in the process of discovery. And once you have your UEC up and running, you will find it performs as well as the competition.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

6 comments
msensorium
msensorium

Ubantu is unreliable in Windows 7. Worse, the restrictions re: folder syncing exclude flash drives (at least on my Win7; unless they incomprehensibly hid it), making it the poorest choice I've found versus my favorite options.

Angel Perez
Angel Perez

Hi Jack, Regarding to the competitors, Do you consider a Host running Hyper-V + System Center 2010 as a solid option for a "internal" cloud? or Microsoft is not a serious option compared with VMWare or Ubuntu ones? Thanks.

JimWillette
JimWillette

I just started playing with a cloudlet (a cloud controller and one node). I would say your weekend estimate is close enough. Just acquiring and bundling a virtual system takes about an hour. There are a few good step-by-step guides out there (look for a three-part series) that worked well right up to the point where a security key was required. Still, it looks promising.

Justin James
Justin James

This looks interesting. How is this different from a traditional server cluster? Words like "controller" and "node" sound like a cluster, not a cloud to me. Also, how does one program against it? What tools, languages, frameworks, etc. do you use? What resources are elastic? Will it spread a compute load over the nodea automatically, or are they constrained to a particular node? How does the storage work? I would definitely like to know more about this! J.Ja

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you using cloud computing in your organization now? Do you plan to deploy cloud computing systems in the near future? What server application do you plan to deploy?

msensorium
msensorium

As a result of these limitations, I dumped it! MS Skydrive is better, and even Google Drive (with all of its limitations) is better.