A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the notion of cloud-based computing. It was too near “thin client” or “dumb terminal” computing. My how things have changed. The cloud has come a long way to prove itself a valuable component for large businesses. Now, with the release of Ubuntu 13.10 and OpenStack’s Havana…the cloud has become a viable solution for businesses of all sizes. The new release brings administrative tools with serious power, flexibility, and ease of use never before scene in a cloud solution.

But…do you know about Ubuntu’s take on the cloud? What about OpenStack’s Havana? If you are in the dark on this new release, here are ten things you need to know that just might sell you on what Ubuntu has to offer.

1. Tuned for all sizes

Canonical have re-tuned “Havana” (the latest OpenStack release) to better work with very small clusters (all the way down to five servers). This means the new release of Ubuntu’s OpenStack can serve small and large companies. If you run the IT department for an SMB, you can now easily harness the same kind of power much larger companies have enjoyed for a long, long time.

2. New Landscape

This is the enterprise system management solution from Canonical. With 13.10 Landscape has been supercharged with a brand new suite of real-time monitoring and security update tools and dashboards. Cloud managers can now more easily monitor both OpenStack as well as their cloud and physical environments. With this handy tool you also get compliance monitoring, role-base access, a fully scriptable API, and much more.

3. ARM support

Havana now offers support for the latest generation of ARM processors. This means that Ubuntu 13.10’s OpenStack can be used on more platforms than any other of its kind. This support comes thanks to numerous collaborations with hardware vendors to ensure the highest possible support for the largest amount of hardware.

4. Faster server deployment

Juju is the system that is charged with deploying complex applications in the Ubuntu cloud. With 13.10, this system gets a major overhaul to supercharge deployment times. We’re looking at deployment times that are five-times faster than previous iterations of the Ubuntu OpenStack. Juju installer can now clone container files in less than one second.

5. Metal As Service

MAAS is a new means by which you provision hardware. With this tool you can easily manage your physical infrastructure as easily as you manage the software side of things. This new tool will help you with: Discovering, commissioning, and deployment of physical servers; dynamic re-allocation of physical servers (to match work load requirements); and retiring servers. One element of MAAS that should appeal to IT managers is that it helps you manage getting physical hardware ready “for work”. This means you can quickly and easily get bare metal up and deployed.

6. OpenStack aligned

Ubuntu 13.10 is the most OpenStack-aligned Linux distribution available. This means Ubuntu 13.10 will work seamlessly with OpenStack to create one of the smoothest Linux-based cloud solutions on the market. Even beyond Linux, the Havana/Ubuntu 13.10 combination might well be the slickest cloud environment period. With this, Ubuntu’s cloud landscape is capable of delivering the fastest, most reliable cloud of any OS on the market.


7. VMWare integration

A single Canonical developer, Yaguang Tang, has accounted for twenty percent of the Havana contributions by Canonical. Yanguang’s work focused almost entirely on VMWare integration. What this means for Ubuntu OpenStack users is that they will now see outstanding interoperability with VMWare vSphere and ESXi.

8. Orchestrate from the browser or command line

With the release of Ubuntu 13.10 and Havana it is now possible to orchestrate from a browser or even the command line. Imagine being able to design, deploy, manage, and scale a workload from a single web browser. That is the kind of power and simplicity the new Ubuntu cloud offers. In addition to simplicity, the browser- and command line-centric work has been tooled with security in mind.

9. Service as a bundle

With the help of Juju, you can wrap up various services as a bundle, save them, and deploy them at will. Previously, it was necessary to deploy individual components…which was time consuming and cumbersome. Now, just wrap up an entire environment and, with the help of the user-friendly Juju GUI, deploy that bundle. This new take on deployment allows administrators to easily share and deploy complex workloads, systems, and environments.

10. It’s free!

You can download Ubuntu 13.10 server which includes the Havana release of OpenStack for free. Just download it, burn it to a disk, and install. NOTE: Make sure you are downloading the 13.10 release (to get the latest, greatest OpenStack features).

It’s becoming harder and harder to deny the presence and the power of the cloud and Linux. It makes perfect sense, as open source and cloud computing are made for one another. By now your curiosity should at least be piqued. Hopefully, you are already in the process of downloading the latest Ubuntu server release from Canonical and will soon be deploying your own cloud environments like a seasoned pro.