Although only two years have passed since its last long-term support (LTS) release, the latest version of Ubuntu Server introduces significant changes, designed to help you deliver new services faster and with more flexibility than ever.
Do note that we support the packages in the main repository for every LTS release for five years from launch, so there is no pressure to upgrade from Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS.
To help you quickly understand the updates included this time, we have categorised the improvements as follows: cloud and virtualisation; hardware and architecture support; file systems and storage; new ISV support.
Standards-based agility, flexibility and compatibility
Ubuntu Cloud is central to Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS – and it will remain at the heart of platform technology decisions in future releases.
OpenStack is now the default choice for Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure. OpenStack has been integrated as the default cloud infrastructure technology for Ubuntu Cloud, for the following reasons:
For more information about Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure, visit www.ubuntu.com/cloud/private
Ubuntu's time-saving service orchestration tool, Juju, uses charms encapsulating devops best practice to deploy cloud services in seconds.
It reduces the friction in handovers from development to testing to production deployment. Developers can use Juju with the micro-cloud on their workstations to ensure they are working in a microcosm of the production test and deployment systems. If they are building a complex multi-tier application, they can create nodes in their workstation micro-cloud for each equivalent node in the production deployment. The changes they make to their code, especially changes in the required configuration, can be communicated instantly for test and production deployments.
Metal as a Service (MAAS) makes it quick and easy to set up the physical hardware base on which to deploy Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure. Through a simple web interface or a REST API, you can add, commission and update physical servers at will. As your needs change, you can respond rapidly, by adding new nodes and dynamically re-deploying them between services. When the time comes, nodes can easily be retired for later use. Together with Juju, MAAS makes it easy to turn a network of physical servers into a functioning private cloud.
Awsome is a separate server component that acts as a proxy between AWS and OpenStack. It features higher-fidelity support for the Amazon EC2 protocol, enabling it to take AWS requests on the front end and translate them to OpenStack's native protocols on the back end, simplifying cloud migration significantly.
Xen is now included and officially supported:
LXC (Linux Container) is a virtualisation technology that uses container techniques to allow multiple user space operating systems to share the same kernel resources. Taking this approach offers some advantages over other virtualisation methods, if strong VM isolation is not required:
Recent improvements include:
KVM and libvirt are at the heart of Ubuntu's virtualisation and cloud strategies. Back in 2008, Ubuntu was the first distribution to adopt KVM and this choice has been proven right. Numerous improvements have been made to KVM and libvirt since then, among them:
Ubuntu is now fully equipped and tested to run on top of Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation server. This includes support for virtual storage and network drivers.
Canonical pioneered cloud-init, a mechanism to customise standard images to specific needs dynamically on startup, as a way to reduce the complexity of managing large numbers of custom images for specific workloads. Today, cloud-init is widely recognised as the best tool for boot-time workload customisation. Canonical's tools make for easier, more manageable and more standardised deployment processes. cloud-init is heavily used in Juju and is available and tested on any cloud that offers official Ubuntu Cloud Guest. Since Ubuntu Server 10.04, we have added support for:
Performance, reliability and power efficiency
RC6 by default for Sandy Bridge systems. RC6 is a technology that allows the GPU to go into a very low power consumption state when the GPU is idle (down to 0W). It results in considerable power savings when this stage is activated. When comparing under idle loads with a machine state in which RC6 is disabled, improved power usage of around 40-60% has been witnessed.
Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS is now available for the ARM platform. A fully-supported Ubuntu Server implementation built from the same repositories as our other architectures, Ubuntu Server for ARM provides the same capabilities as Ubuntu Server on x86 or x64. This means you will be able to run the same Ubuntu platform across your entire server infrastructure, whether on x86, x64 or ARM.
A wide range of server models are certified for Ubuntu 12.04. This includes certification and support of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on select HP ProLiant servers, including the latest HP ProLiant Generation 8 (Gen8) servers. For the full list of certified hardware, please visit www.ubuntu.com/certification
Distributed, stable and secure
Support for Ceph distributed storage system Ceph is a massively scalable, open source, distributed storage system. It is comprised of an object store, block store, and a POSIX-compatible distributed file system. The platform is capable of auto-scaling beyond the petabyte level, it runs on commodity hardware, it is self-healing and self-managing, and has no single point of failure. Ceph is in the Linux kernel and RBD can be integrated with the OpenStack cloud operating system.
There are a variety of ways to interact with the system:
XFS underlying file system is our current prefered choice, but BTRFS is supported as well (as an OSD only).
CIFS now has file system cache support to improve performance
Software RAID now supports bad block management (MD)
Kernel-level Mandatory Access Control to confine programs to a limited set of resources.
Leading applications for distributed computing
Distributed and cloud computing models have evolved significantly since we released Ubuntu Server 10.04. As a result, we have seen the recent emergence of new application categories and ISVs. Hadoop, Big Data and NoSQL have all grown in popularity in the last two years. Being a platform favoured by developers working with new and innovative technologies, these technologies have been made available for Ubuntu since their beginning. With Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS, Canonical has engaged with the communities and ISVs behind many of these applications to ensure that they are tested and supported for 12.04 LTS and they can be deployed quickly and easily, using Juju.
Notable applications that are tested and supported in Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS include:
In addition, community projects such as Cassandra, Big Top Hadoop, Redis and Riak are all available for Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS and and they can all be deployed using Juju. There have also been new Java capabilities added as well as significant improvements and updates to existing tools in 12.04:
The leading platform for scale-out computing, Ubuntu Server delivers the best value scale-out performance available.
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