Ubuntu Splits from Eucalyptus, Chooses OpenStack for Cloud Platform

Canonical has announced the OpenStack cloud platform will be the core technology in the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud package which allows organizations to launch Linux-based clouds.

Enterprises interested in using Ubuntu Server to power their cloud infrastructure will be using the OpenStack cloud platform and not Eucalyptus, Canonical announced. The decision was not entirely unexpected.

Future versions of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud package will be based on the OpenStack as a foundation technology, Canonical said at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Budapest, Hungary on May 10. The shift comes less than two weeks after Canonical included OpenStack support for the first time in its Ubuntu operating system, Natty Narwhal.

"The Ubuntu team has been working closely with the OpenStack project and this will form a strong basis for [the] Ubuntu Cloud product in the future," Canonical said in a statement.

OpenStack has built up a lot of momentum since Rackspace and NASA joined forces in 2010 to launch a fully open-source, standards-based cloud platform. NASA used the technology for its Nebula internal cloud and Rackspace uses OpenStack ObjectStorage in its cloud storage platform.

Cisco has submitted a network-as-a-service proposal for OpenStack. Less than a year old, the cloud project has more than 60 contributing partners, including NASA, Rackspace, Dell, Intel, AMD, Citrix, Cisco, Brocade and Canonical. The development team released the latest version, "Cactus," in April.

"The OpenStack project has developed significant user, developer and industry attention over the last year as it has matured," Canonical said.

Until now, the cloud software stack in Ubuntu was Eucalyptus, which uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) APIs to create an Amazon-like infrastructure in a private environment. Eucalyptus had to be modified to support the KVM hypervisor, which is what Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud uses, versus the Xen hypervisor, which Amazon uses on its cloud service. When some observers criticized Eucalyptus for its reliance on Amazon APIs, Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, claimed that the Amazon EC2 API was widely used across the industry and should be considered a de-facto standard.

Eucalyptus has been part of Ubuntu since version 9.04 was released in 2009.

The decision to switch was not entirely unexpected, as there has been a lot of discussion about the completely open-source OpenStack and the not entirely so Eucalyptus. Back in March, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said one of the topics up for debate at the developer summit would be to decide which cloud project would be embedded into the Ubuntu stack going forward. The decision needed to be made in light of the work being done for the next long-term-support release of Ubuntu Server expected April 2012.

The switch will happen with the next release of Ubuntu Server, version 11.10, expected in October. Codenamed Oneric Ocelot, the server release will also include a set of migration tools to help users move their Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud deployments from Eucalyptus to OpenStack.

Eucalyptus hasn't been dropped entirely, as Canonical will still support Eucalyptus as a stand-alone application in future versions of the server operating system. Ubuntu 11.10 will have support for Eucalyptus 3.0 and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (long-term support) will be available until April 2015. The next LTS release is version 12.04.

"Eucalyptus will remain within Ubuntu and will be available for users who prefer this technology," Canonical said.

Mickos bragged on the company blog that more than 25,000 clouds have been installed using Eucalyptus. OpenStack has more than 20,000 downloads to date. In addition, Internap rolled out XIPCloud Storage using OpenStack in January.