Turnkey Linux Uses Ubuntu as a Foundation

Turnkey Linux Hub 1.0 provides cloud hosting and backup capabilities for the Web application software appliances offered by the Turnkey Linux project.

Turnkey Linux Hub 1.0 is a Web-based service that sits atop Amazon's Web Services to provide cloud hosting and backup capabilities for the line of Web application software appliances offered by the Turnkey Linux open-source project.

The software-appliance-plus-cloud-services combination is similar to the Bitnami Cloud Hosting product that I recently reviewed, except that where Bitnami's software stacks are packaged for use on multiple operating systems, Turnkey Linux is focused squarely on Ubuntu Linux as a foundation.

Turnkey Linux appliances, which cover a broad range of popular open-source, Web-based applications, are built atop the current Long Term Support version of Ubuntu and abide by Ubuntu's system administration conventions. In addition, the appliances ship with phpMyAdmin, Webmin and Shell in a Box to provide database, system and command line tools through a Web interface.

The Ubuntu customization that stands out the most in Turnkey Linux is the platform's backup and restore utility, which creates encrypted backups of files, databases and lists of installed packages, either to Amazon S3 or to another local or networked location.

Turnkey Linux appliances are available in a handful of different deployment formats, including ISO images for bare-metal installation and OVF (Open Virtualization Format) packages for deployment on virtualization hosts (such as VMware vSphere or Citrix XenCenter) that support this format. Turnkey Linux appliances are also available for deployment to Amazon's EC2 service, directly from the Turnkey Linux Hub Web interface.

In my tests, the platform's backup and restore utility did a great job easing the migration of a particular appliance instance from one to another of these deployment formats.

Turnkey Linux is an excellent option for individuals or organizations looking to test drive and deploy open-source Web applications covered by the project. It would serve well as a platform for building Web applications atop popular open-source stacks: There are appliances available for generic LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl), Ruby on Rails and Django stacks, among others.

The project's mix of administration tools provide comfortable options for newcomers and old hands at Linux administration alike, and the platform's wide deployment and backup options make it easy to focus on the application at the top of the stack.

All Turnkey Linux appliances are freely downloadable, and pricing for S3 storage and EC2 hosting is based strictly on use, at the same rates that Amazon Web Services charges directly. The Turnkey developers have considered charging a 10 percent premium atop the EC2 rates to help fund the project, but as yet have not put any such premium into place.