Ubuntu Outperforms all other Linux Enterprise Class Offerings

I remember when Ubuntu first came out and I jokingly told a co-worker when he mentioned the name (I had no idea what he was referring to), it sounded like a new disease…..He was all excited and showed me his laptop with Ubuntu on it (doesn’t it sound like a foot fungus or something?)  and it was just another day of work for me. At the time I was in the middle of building out the largest Mobile Cloud Platform in the world (which ended up being chosen to host the OBAMA.MOBI website for the First ever Mobile Presidential Campaign Website as well as garnering the MMAA’s prestigeous Mobile Platform of the Year Award, not bad for my third Global Data-Center Design and Build-out from scratch considering the first two one provided bandwidth to Netflix as a stealth startup before anyone had even heard of them, and my second was the PS3 Online Gaming Data-Center designed and built for SCEA).

I’ve been using Linux since day one and remember being a redhat beta tester and having 30 floppies I had to deal with to install it in the early nineties. Since then I’ve primarily stayed focused on linux solutions which offered enterprise class support and that narrows the field pretty much to RHEL & SUSE until recently a few other players have entered the ring and do not look too bad at all!

I do a lot of consulting work for startups looking to go into the cloud, I was stating the dangers of the marketing hype of Public clouds long before Steve Wozniak (Who I have had the fortune to meet in person in his beautiful  home as I was able to service with point-to-point Wireless Broadband Service from that first Fiber Optic Data-Center I built in Los Gatos, CA. in 1999) gave his famous speech about it how the hype was damaging the move forward to adoption of cloud technology. In any case, one thing I always tell my clients, and it is for me anyway, Rule #1 “NEVER Consider any Solution for ‘Critical aspects of your infrastructure which does not have a ROBUST Support Contract available” . Now that can be a third-party support contract but I tend to stay away from anything that does not have at a minimum one hour onsite (meaning they guarantee an engineer to be on-site within an hour) and one-hour on-site replacement if it is a hardware piece of the puzzle. So that tends, as I say to eliminate all teh small guys playing in the Linux Arena however recently “Network World” performed head-to-head testing of 5 Robustly Supported, and Enterprise Class Claiming, Linux products and Ubuntu came out on top surprisingly to many.

Perhaps it should not be, as they have a huge and fanatical following of evangelists. That guy I mentioned…he became the CTO of the company and even though he has gone on to new and greener pastures he is still a fan of Ubuntu and has not swapped allegiances since that first install.

I would like to point out the tested OS versions:

  1. REDHAT Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.4
    • As I think I stated, I’ve been a fan of Redfhat since they first came out and indeed was the first person to ever use Redhat with Oracle RAC and EMC. In early 2004 after selecting the three vendors as our core infrastructure for the PS3 Online Gaming Data-Center we we’re about 4 months in when an engineer came to me and said he could not get anything to install properly. I asked him what the heck that meant, he said “We cannot find any drivers for the products we’re using….and the  ones they have are not working” which still told me almost nothing, so I drove to Santa Clara and investigated it myself and sure enough none of the three vendors had drivers that supported the other two. So what to do…scrap the vendors and go with others? I had to go let executive management know what was happening and they we’re not happy at all, since It was up to me to have verified all the requirements prior to making my vendor selections, I understood the buck stopped with me. After two days of meetings I finally woke up with the solution and called all three vendors and said “Hey, we need you to send a development team down here so you can certify Oracle RAC on Redhat & EMC, Redhat on Oracle RAC & EMC, and EMC on Oracle RAC & Redhat” and it worked and they did and we we’re the first to use all three together.
  2. Dell SUSE Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 2
    • Probably the Linux server I have the second most experience with as I designed and built the SaaS cloud infrastructure including the Java/Tomcat app architecture for the largest Mobile Marketing Platform at the time, which was selected to host the OBAMA.MOBI website for the 2008 Presidential Elections and selected for the Mobile Marketing Platform of the Year Award by the Mobile Marketing Association of America (MMAA) also in 2008
  3. Mandriva Business Server 1.0
  4. ClearOS 6 Professional
  5. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Introduced in 1991, Linux boasts an estimated 67 million users worldwide according to linuxcounter.net. Free versions abound, but companies adopting Linux as part of critical infrastructure typically require more support than a community of unpaid, albeit enthusiastic, volunteers can provide.

The five products we tested — SUSE Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 2, Mandriva Business Server 1.0, ClearOS 6 Professional, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS — are all enterprise server versions offering commercial support options, either at the OS level or in the form of commercial management tools and support plans.

For enterprises, the advantages of going with commercial support options include LTR (Long Term Release) versions of the software, improved interoperability, application support and legal protection if  a portion of the open source software is found to infringe on third-party intellectual property rights. Also, vendor longevity is more likely with a Linux distribution that’s backed by a commercial revenue stream.

We initially thought commercial goliath Red Hat might dominate in our tests, but in our final tally Ubuntu came out on top. Ubuntu delivered intuitive, uncluttered management tools, excellent hypervisor support, and transparency (commercial and open source versions are one and the same). Canonical also boasts progressive strategic alliances with large cloud providers. Ubuntu is also closely associated with the popular OpenStack platform.

[ALSO: Ubuntu 13 challenges Windows 8]

The remaining four contenders fell into two categories with Red Hat and SUSE representing enterprise-level offerings and Mandriva and ClearOS geared more towards small and midsize businesses. In the SMB segment ClearOS edged out Mandriva. (Watch a slideshow version of this story.)

ClearOS is easy to install, provides the most common server roles, which are easy to deploy, and has an impressive management interface that runs on a number of different devices. ClearOS can also be configured as gateway server, which we found appealing.

Cloud-wise, although ClearOS has a beta version for Amazon EC2, we would like to see support for some of the other public cloud platforms.

Mandriva, also primarily aimed at the SMB market, sports all-inclusive server roles and security features packaged into one at a reasonable price. We found the Mandriva website a bit lacking in terms of technical product information, especially for customers seeking to evaluate products.

Both Red Hat and SUSE are very robust enterprise server products with substantial customer bases. The online SUSE Studio provides a way for administrators to build a custom server appliance that will run on a variety of different virtual and cloud platforms. We also found SUSE to be one of the easier solutions to deploy and with excellent cloud support through OpenStack.

Red Hat gets high marks for its management tools, although we found some of the subscription and server management solutions a bit fragmented and cumbersome to navigate. Taking the guesswork out of whether RHEL will run on a certain hardware configuration, Red Hat certifies its server products to run a wide range of hardware from most manufacturers. Compared to some of the other vendors, we found Red Hat’s online documentation to be a notch or two above. We also liked the Red Hat Security Response Team, which constantly monitors and updates customers with information regarding security threats, and we received several notifications during the testing period.

Price-wise it is clear that Red Hat and SUSE are keeping an eye on each other, both offering basic one-year subscriptions in the mid-$300s and following each other up the price ladder for comparable solutions. Ubuntu pricing is based on a slightly different model, which offers the server software for free, but requires per-server annual subscriptions for the Ubuntu Advantage management platform.
We tested the products in three environments, physical, virtual and cloud. Our primary focus was to determine how the commercial solutions add value for customers. We were pleased to see that vendors are now tailoring products to the ever-increasing number of virtual and cloud environments, and finally providing web-based tools that simplify server management without the need to install and manage additional complex infrastructure. The web-based management tools, where available, also made quick work of our test cloud deployments. Here are the individual reviews:

ubuntu

Ubuntu

While the Ubuntu operating system is free and open source, Canonical offers several versions of Ubuntu Advantage, a commercial support package available in three levels; Essentials, Standard and Advanced. These solutions are available as annual subscriptions ranging from $320 for the Essentials to $1,200 per year for Advanced. These include the Landscape management platform, the Ubuntu Assurance Program (legal assurance) and various level of support. With one subscription you can manage as many physical and virtual servers as you’d like, a configuration that makes Ubuntu very cost effective.

Ubuntu’s commercial long-term release schedule allows enterprises to plan migrations over a longer time span. A standard release is typically issued every six months, while LTS (Long Term Support) releases are supported for five years. The current LTS Ubuntu server version 12.04 offers support until first quarter 2017. Version 14.04 is slated to be released in 2014 with support until 2019.
We installed version 12.04 on a 64-bit server. Ubuntu requires quite a bit more user input during installation than some of the other products we tested. In total there probably weren’t any more parameters (examples: language, time zone, keyboard layout, proxy server, disk configuration) than with some of the others, but the linear, one item at a time command-line installation process seemed fairly inefficient.

According to Canonical, the decision to forego a GUI-based installer was done to provide compatibility with the widest selection of server hardware. In any event, according to Canonical, servers are typically deployed automatically using a PXE-based server, in which case the tedium of providing installation parameters at the console is avoided.

As Ubuntu gains popularity in the public cloud, Canonical is focusing on providing optimized server images that can easily be deployed with large cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure. Canonical also offers something it calls Metal as a Service (MAAS), which allows administrators to set up a physical hardware base upon which complex services, such as the Ubuntu OpenStack, can be deployed.

Ubuntu’s server orchestration management tool JuJu works both in the private and public clouds. JuJu provides developers with a set of best practices that can be developed into reusable ‘charms’ that allows customers to scale up or down services as the demand changes. For instance, one pre-built charm provides installation and setup of WordPress optimized for the cloud.

The Advantage package offers both support and legal assurance, but we were particularly impressed by the Landscape system management tools. These full-featured, web-based tools enable sysadmins to deploy and manage Ubuntu servers, both physical and virtualized. Ubuntu Landscape can run on a local server or as a hosted cloud solution provided by Canonical. We tested both and liked the sharp interface and comprehensive management and configuration options.

Landscape can monitor clients by deploying an agent that provides health metrics such as temperature, system load and memory usage to one central location where alerts can be acted on. Processes can be monitored remotely and rogue processes can be restarted or ‘killed’ remotely. Ubuntu Advantage can be configured to send email notifications when issues need attention, such as the email we received informing us that our test server needed 20 some patches installed. It also includes patch management and compliance features. This allows administrators to install, remove and update packages remotely to any Ubuntu server (physical or virtual) registered in Landscape.

A local Ubuntu installation running virtualized on a Windows server behind a firewall with a local IP can be readily managed remotely from Ubuntu’s Advantage cloud server with minimal or no changes to most firewall configuration settings.

The Ubuntu cloud infrastructure provides administrators a way of deploying an OpenStack cloud without the need for third-party proprietary add-ons. Ubuntu is also compliant with existing cloud standards such as Amazon’s EC2 API and works well with cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, HP and Rackspace. OpenStack and Ubuntu enjoy a somewhat special relationship, as Ubuntu is the reference operating system used by the OpenStack project, currently supported by well over 100 vendors (including Red Hat, Cisco, Dell, VMWare, Intel and others). It includes support for a wide range of hypervisors and network/storage components.

Similar to Red Hat and ClearOS, Ubuntu uses KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) as its default virtualization technology. KVM is part of the Ubuntu Linux kernel and takes advantage of AMD and Intel hardware virtualization extensions. Administrators can manage KVM virtual machines on Ubuntu with tools like the libvirt virtualization API or a virtual machine monitor like QEMU.

Paid technical support is available as part of the Ubuntu Advantage offering from Canonical. There is also a good online Wiki and documentation together with a very active online community that provides good support.

ClearOS

ClearOS (formely known as ClarkConnect) is developed and maintained by the Clear Foundation. Based on CentOS and Red Hat Linux, ClearOS is deployed in over 150 countries. The ClearOS Professional server edition is available in three versions; Basic, Standard and Premium. There is also a ClearBox 300 appliance that provides an all-in-one solution for up to 250 users.

ClearOS supports unlimited users without the need for additional licenses and offers network and gateway features that provide comprehensive intrusion detection and prevention.

We installed the ClearOS Professional 6.4 version on a 64-bit server. Similar to Red Hat, ClearOS uses the Anaconda GUI installer. The minimum system requirements are fairly modest with 512MB RAM recommended, 2GB free hard disk space and a 1GHZ processor. ClearOS Professional supports up to 16 processors.

Management of the ClearOS server is achieved from a graphically appealing Web-based interface called WebConfig that runs on a variety of browsers from desktop to mobile. When first launched and connected to a server, WebConfig prompts you to go through a comprehensive wizard to configure the server and also to select any add-on applications you may want from the ClearOS Marketplace.
We downloaded a couple of free apps to see how they integrated with WebConfig and found that these add-ons were seamlessly added to the menu in the appropriate categories. The WebConfig wizard also provides a link to the Marketplace site should you wish to browse and install additional applications. ClearOS also provides a sample framework as a starting point for developing mobile apps to manage and monitor ClearOS installations.

The dashboard type interface provides access to common server tasks from system updates and resource usage monitoring to management of gateway and firewall settings. There are also some decent on-screen reporting features with the “psychedelic disk usage wheel” displaying how disk space is being utilized. Other reporting features include a log viewer by log type as well as professional-looking resource reports. The process viewer displays all running processes along with resource usage (CPU and memory) and the ability to issue ‘kill’ commands to terminate a process.

The Clear Foundation positions itself as a pioneer in the hybrid cloud technology sector, which combines on-premise system functions with cloud applications and services. ClearOS has been using cloud connected services such as remote updates, dynamic DNS and subscription-based services for more than a decade.

While ClearOS includes KVM support built into the kernel and also supports other hypervisors like Zen and VirtualBox, it is not specifically intended to be a virtualization platform. ClearOS can operate as a guest OS on several VM platforms such as VMware and VirtualBox. There is a beta version available that runs on the Amazon EC2 cloud platform.

ClearOS comes bundled with a number of security features ready to use, including DansGuardian anti-virus and the L7 application layer packet classifier, contextual analysis and access control. ClearOS can be installed in ‘gateway mode’ that provides intrusion detection/prevention, protocol filters, firewall and proxy services from first boot.

Paid support is available through the Clear Foundation’s ClearCARE offering, which is included in the Standard and Premium versions and can be purchased on a per ticket basis for other versions. If you’re just evaluating the software, there are some helpful online video tutorials for some of the basic tasks (installation, etc.) together with partner write-ups made available by ClearOS with instructions for completing tasks such as configuring virtualization with KVM to how to setting up a VPN.

The ClearOS Marketplace is an app store that offers various add-on applications ranging from a dynamic VPN app to a DropBox app. Most of the apps currently available are developed by ClearOS, but there are some third-party ones available as well, such as a Gateway anti-malware app from Kaspersky. Most of the apps are free to download and the paid options are mostly sold on a subscription basis at around $100 per year.

The ClearOS Pro licensing model is based on 1-year subscription for one server (physical or virtual), with access to over 65 Marketplace apps and software updates.

Lite: $80 per year
Basic: $280 per year
Standard: $480 per year, includes support
Premium: $880 per year, includes support
Appliance Lease: starts at $100 per month

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is available in several versions, each optimized for a specific use, such as SAP, IBM System Z and high performance. Major releases are typically available every two to three years with service packs available between major releases. We tested SUSE Linux Enterprise Server version 11 with Service Pack 2.

For those who prefer a GUI installation, the SUSE installation is one of the best we tested. It provides a wizard type install that can be run in expert mode for those who want to do some serious customizing or a more basic mode for those who just want to get started.
The default install includes pretty much everything and therefore requires more disk space, with 4GB recommended, but a smaller footprint option is also available. Going with the full install is also time-consuming, but after some initial user input the install completes on its own. During installation you can point to other media if you wish to install packages that are not bundled with the SUSE ISO.Our install booted into a Gnome desktop, but KDE and others can be used as well.

After the initial install we loaded up WebYaST in a browser to connect to the server remotely. WebYaST is a web-based console for controlling SUSE Enterprise Linux appliances. It is fairly basic, but allows administrators for perform tasks such as applying updates, managing software repositories and monitoring system resources.

By far the feature we liked the most was the cloud-based SUSE Studio which, among other things, allows you to build a SUSE appliance on the fly from the SUSE Studio website. You essentially go through a wizard that presents a number of different options and configuration parameters, and at the end you can have your customized build stored to an ISO file or various virtual machine or cloud formats, such as Zen and Hyper-V or Amazon EC2 and Azure.

From SUSE Studio you can also test drive your appliance to make sure it works as expected before downloading. We built a couple of different server appliances to run on our virtual host and both booted up properly with the correct network configuration and application details we had specified. The SUSE Studio appliance builder  shaved hours off our typical configuration tasks.

There are several management tools available for SUSE including SUSE Cloud (based on OpenStack) for managing and deploying private and public clouds, SUSE Manager, for automated provisioning, monitoring and software management and SUSE Studio, the aforementioned web based tool.

SUSE Manager 1.7 provides provisioning and deployment options, patch and update management, and tools to manage compliance with internal policies and regulatory requirements. It allows for the use of either the open source PostgreSQL database or an enterprise Oracle database. SUSE emphasizes automation to free up IT resources and perform tasks faster and more reliably.

SUSE Manager is IPv6 compatible, which opens up a variety of management and provisioning options. The SUSE Manager can be integrated with SUSE Studio.

SUSE Cloud is a commercially supported distribution of OpenStack. OpenStack supports multiple hypervisors and SUSE Cloud is no exception, with support for KVM, Hyper-V and Xen, among others. SUSE has streamlined the installation process by combining its own YaST installer with the Crowbar installer used by OpenStack.

It should be noted that SUSE and Microsoft have had an interoperability agreement since 2006, which  extends to Microsoft Azure accommodating SUSE Enterprise Linux and Hyper-V support on SUSE Cloud.

Both the KVM and Xen hypervisors are included with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. With the SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtual Machine Driver Pack 2.1, SUSE claims you can run virtual Windows servers with near-native performance, although we did not test this. SUSE provides both graphical and command-line tools that simplify installing, configuring and managing virtualized environments.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server supports the Linux Foundation’s latest Carrier Grade Linux standard (CGL 4.0) and is validated for use in telecommunications environments. SUSE also provides a stateful firewall. By using the Linux netfilter, administrators can isolate networks from each other. We found that the addition of Samba 3.6 provides for easier deployment of SUSE into Windows 7 Active Directory domains. SUSE is POSIX compliant, which means it works well with other POSIX compliant operating systems such as Solaris and HP-UX. Finally, SUSE adheres to the current Linux Standards Base (LSB 4.0), which ensures compatibility with current and previous Linux versions.

Licensing model: By server (2, 4, 6 or 8 sockets, physical or virtual server), one year subscription which includes software updates and support (available for Standard and Priority versions only).
Basic: from $349 per year (software updates only)
Standard: from $799 per year (software updates and support)
Priority: from $1,499 per year (software updates and priority support)

Red Hat

We tested RHEL version 6.4 which we downloaded as an ISO and installed on a 64-bit server. Red Hat recommends using the Anaconda GUI for installation, but text mode is supported, although not all options are available. Also, Anaconda will default to text mode if it cannot detect the display drivers. The Anaconda installation interface makes it easy to perform a basic installation with very little user input beyond the standard language, time zone and root password.

There are also options to configure one or multiple Ethernet ports as well as multiple options for storage configuration. If you have a certain role in mind for the installation you can select from a list, such as Web server, Database server, Virtualization host or minimal. Selecting one of these pre-determined roles will install what you need to run the server. Since we wanted to test a variety of functions, we went with the Basic model with the option to customize.

Customization options are comprehensive and include database, web server, virtualization components, RDP, server admin tools and GUIs. You can add additional repositories such as ‘high availability’ or point to the Web for additional ones either during the installation or afterwards. After install, RHEL booted into a KDE desktop where we were able to perform additional configuration tasks.

Several management options are available for RHEL, including the Red Hat Network Satellite systems management platform. The Red Hat Network Satellite management platform is essentially a local version of the Red Hat Network, which runs centrally on Red Hat’s servers and requires an annual subscription. Satellite is a Web-based management platform for Linux installations that allows administrators to manage systems across disparate regions. Along with the basic management features, such as the ability to see the status of a server and apply patches and security updates, we liked the support for OpenSCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) with its ability to run audit scans to check for compliance with various policies.

Similar to some of the other online management tools, Red Hat Network sends email alerts when an item needs attention. For instance, we received an email alert to let us know that one of our test servers needed a critical Firefox patch applied. The notification lists information about the patch along with details about the server(s) needing attention.

The Smart Management add-on works in conjunction with the Satellite management platform or Red Hat Network. With this add-on, system administrators can manage production and development environments through provisioning, patching and configuration.

Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure is a cloud management solution that combines three products (Red Hat OpenStack, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat CloudForms) to provide a scalable platform for both private and public clouds. CloudForms offers management across multiple public cloud providers and hypervisors.

Red Hat’s Certified Cloud Provider program seeks to test and certify cloud providers to ensure compatibility and scalability with Red Hat’s products. When hosting in the cloud, customers can purchase RHEL instances in increments, such as by the hour or by the month. This may be a good solution for organizations not ready for a full-fledged commitment to the cloud environment and also for customers with unpredictable workloads. The other option is for customers to use their own RHEL subscription with a certified Red Hat cloud provider.

RHEL 6.4 can be installed as a guest on VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux installer recognizes the underlying hypervisor and installs the appropriate drivers. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is based on the KVM hypervisor and built-in to the Red Hat kernel. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and CloudForms provide a management tool for the virtualization infrastructure. Unlike previous version of RHEL, version 6.4 only has support for KVM.

RHEL comes with a feature known as Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux). It was developed by Red Hat and the National Security Agency (NSA). It provides the ability to enforce role-based access control and is an integral part of the Red Hat platform, including virtual environments. Other security features are also available, ranging from firewalls to audit capabilities. The Red Hat Security Response Team addresses security vulnerabilities.

At the core of Red Hat support is a subscription model that provides the latest software, updates and patches, together with support and maintenance. The subscriptions also entitle customers to the Open Source Assurance Program, which offers legal protection.

Licensing model: Annual subscriptions are available per server with either two or four sockets. Subscriptions can be purchased with one, four or unlimited virtual guests. The below pricing is for a server with two sockets for up to one virtual guest. Subscriptions include management tools (Red Hat Network Satellite), software updates and support (standard and premium only).
1-year self-support subscription starts at $349
1-year standard subscription starts at $749
1-year premium subscription starts at $1,299
1-year Smart Management add-on starts at $192

Mandriva Business Server Soho

Once named Mandrake, Mandriva had to change its name after losing litigation with publisher Hearst over a comic strip by the same name. The Mandriva Business Server 1.0 is brand new as of February and bills itself as a full server solution with numerous business-based roles (mail, web, application, print and directory services) built in and ready to use.

By offering multiple server features and roles in one package at a reasonable price, Mandriva seeks to identify itself more as a competitor to Microsoft Small Business Server than other large commercial Linux products. For evaluation or very small business units, Mandriva Business Server is free for up to five users.

MBS Runs on any x86 64-bit processor, with 1GB RAM and 4GB of available hard drive space recommended. We installed the Mandriva Business Server 1.0 and the installation did not provide any options except to accept the license agreement and enter a password for the root account. During the first part of the install you’re presented with a Windows like presentation of features and add-ons. After installation the server can be configured with MSS (Mandriva Server Setup). MSS is a fairly basic Web interface that allows administrators to configure the basics, such as IP address, host name and DNS servers.

Once the server has been configured, it can be accessed from a Web browser through the Mandriva Management Console (MMC). This is a fairly rudimentary set of tools that allows for basic server management such as checking for and applying software updates along with managing users and services. In addition to the MMC, Mandriva has its own IT management software, Mandriva Pulse 2.

Pulse 2 is a full-featured solution that provides a host of features ranging from software deployment and management to operational supervision and maintenance. One appealing feature of Pulse 2 is its ability to manage both Linux and non-Linux installations (Windows, Mac, Unix). While we did not independently confirm this, Mandriva claims that the Pulse management software can manage in excess of 100,000 devices spread out geographically. Pulse 2 definitely provides more firepower than the MMC interface, allowing administrators to deploy security and software updates, manage hardware and software inventory along with remote diagnostics and management, to name a few.

Mandriva CloudPulse is based on the Mandriva Pulse2 and offers the same features, except in the cloud. Mandriva CloudPulse is available in several versions with the basic version costing about $2 per server per month and the Platinum version costing around $8 per month per server. Mandriva is also a stakeholder of the Aeolus Project, a French research initiative on cloud innovation. One of the resulting technologies is the Aeolus Deployment engine that allows for deployment of WordPress on a Mandriva server.

Mandriva ships with both the Xen and KVM hypervisors. It can operate as a guest on several platforms such as VMware and Virtualbox.

The Mandriva ServicePlace is an online portal providing access to add-on products and services for Mandriva. The services category is mainly support and training, ranging in cost from around $100 for installation support multiple thousands for the Enterprise Gold support plan. Most of the product add-ons, such as Web mail and instant messaging, are free or available at a nominal fee.

Licensing model: Mandriva is licensed by server with either 50 or unlimited users. The annual license fee includes software updates and support plans that provides one or three years of support.
Up to 5 users is free
Starter version: 499 Euros (up to 50 users)
Enterprise version: 999 Euros (unlimited users)

Perschke is a web and database developer with 15+ years of industry experience. You can reach her at susan@arcseven.com.

Since then Ubuntu has come a “LONG WAY BABY” and is one of the Major Enterprise Class Server Players today competing Head-to-Head with Redhat Enterprise, Microsoft Server, MAC OS X 10.8.3 and even beats Windows 7 & Windows 8 in Desktop performance tests.

To top it off with Icing on the Cake, the latest Ubuntu has been specifically designed to be Optimized with “OpenStack Cloud Framework” AND now offers a Smartphone version!

Ubuntu Logo

Canonical announced in the 4th Quarter of 2013 that the next version of Ubuntu will be designed specifically for the server and cloud market environments and was released on 17 October 2013.

“Ubuntu 13.10 delivers the latest and best version of OpenStack, and is the fastest, most flexible platform for scale-out computing,” says Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu and VP Products for Canonical. “Ubuntu is typically used in very large scale deployments. In this release we’ve tuned the cloud deployment experience for very small clusters as well, to support dev-and-test environments.” This 13.10 release makes it possible to deploy a full OpenStack cloud on only 5 servers and offers a sophisticated Landscape dashboard for the management of Ubuntu OpenStack clouds no matter their size.

Enterprise management of OpenStack clouds and the workloads deployed on them has been a focus for Canonical in the latest development cycle. “With Landscape, we simplify the lives of enterprise compliance and administration teams, with a full suite of compliance, performance monitoring and security update tools that work on all cloud and physical environments. Now we’ve added real-time dashboards for your OpenStack cloud, too” says Federico Lucifredi, who leads Ubuntu server product management.

While Ubuntu itself is an operating system, much of the recent work by Canonical and the Ubuntu community has been to deliver complete solutions and applications on top of it. The breakthrough Juju service orchestration tool from Canonical makes it easy to design, deploy, manage and scale workloads securely from a browser or the command line. In 13.10, Juju can instantly deploy an entire software environment or service as a “bundle” directly from the easy-to-use Juju GUI, improving on the previous deployment of individual components. This reduces complexity and enables administrators to share entire complex workloads consisting of many related parts.

Ubuntu leads the way with integration between OpenStack and VMware vSphere so ESXi users can interoperate with OpenStack. “The ability to deploy Ubuntu OpenStack alongside ESXi with orchestration that spans both properties is extremely valuable, bringing OpenStack right to the centre of common enterprise virtualisation practice” said Mark Shuttleworth.

13.10 introduces Juju management of LXC containers, which allow multiple services to run on the same physical or virtual machine. This gives sysadmins the option of greater density, reducing the total number of machines required to run a service, and reducing cost.

A new installer enables very rapid provisioning of thousands of nodes, typically five times faster than the best traditional Linux installation process. Ubuntu is uniquely suited to rapid provisioning and re-provisioning in large-scale data centres. The Ubuntu LXC update in 13.10 provides blindingly fast (less than one second) and efficient cloning of containers for faster scaling of containerised services, unique to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu’s OpenStack distribution brings the famous “Ubuntu Just Works” usability to complex cloud deployment; clouds are simple to design, deploy and scale for private or public purposes. Ubuntu 13.10 includes Havana, the latest version of OpenStack, with new and updated tools such as Ceilometer for metering and monitoring, and Heat for auto-scaling.

Havana is also available to customers on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS thanks to the 12.04 Cloud Archive, from Canonical. This means that LTS users can get access to the latest Ubuntu OpenStack release, tools and features while continuing to enjoy the stability and maintenance commitment that backs our current LTS

Unfortunately as someone who builds Cloud and Data-Center infrastructures for a living it is no longer a simple and automatic “RHEL” based server environment and I’m now finding myself having to perform head-to-head testing in Proof of Concept (POC) labs and performing a complete cost/benefit analysis on the two Linux  Operating Systems to determine which would be best on each project based on Performance, Stability, Capacity, Functionality, Interoperability with other products and vendors, Ease of Integration, Ease of Use, Ease of Management, Upgrade & Migration Paths, Support offerings and Cost. But the bottom-line? Competition is always good as in the end I want what is best for the customer and choice is never a bad thing.

Availability
Ubuntu Server 13.10 will be available for download from the 17th October 2013 at: http://www.ubuntu.com/download.  OpenStack Havana release notes: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/ReleaseNotes/Havana

Author – Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer

 

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