Canonical Delivers Openstack Cloud On IBM Iron For Canadian University

Canonical has delivered what it is calling a “Campus Research Cloud” that provides an automated computing solution for a leading Canadian university.

The company behind the open source Ubuntu operating system said that the research cloud at Carleton University runs on IBM Power servers, and provides a “central location for researchers on campus to support cutting-edge projects, develop new applications and access commercial software”.

Research Cloud

It seems that Carleton University required a cloud environment on a hybrid platform that ideally included both IBM Power and x86 based servers. The university felt they needed one pure OpenStack environment which could provide self-service support with unified cloud management.

Canonical offered the university OpenStack, in addition to Ubuntu, MAAS, and Juju for the Power platform.

It worked with IBM and bundled in a number of its tools and software including Ubuntu, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with OpenStack Liberty, MaaS (Metal-as-a-Service provisioning construct created by Canonical) and Juju, in order to create a single Ubuntu OpenStack deployment on IBM Power Systems and x86 servers in a hybrid cloud.

The university was able to quickly deploy all OpenStack services across Power8 and x86 based servers thanks to the use of Juju, a modelling tool that allows for the rapid configuration and deployment of clouds.

“We really could not have gotten these results without Canonical,” said Sylvain Pitre Ph.D, Manager, Research Computing Services at Carleton University. “Using Juju and MAAS to deploy OpenStack on bare metal IBM Power and x86 based servers, we are now able to service the entire research population and ensure they have seamless access to Power for the high performing compute capacity they need for rapid analysis of their most complex challenges.”

It should be remembered that IBM and Canonical have a long standing relationship. In 2010 for example, Canonical put the free version of IBM’s DB2 database system onto its Ubuntu Linux-based cloud service, for both private and public clouds.

And earlier this year Ubuntu and Ubuntu OpenStack was made available on Power-based servers.

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“We are very excited to be working with Canonical and to have Ubuntu OpenStack as the first OpenStack available on Power,” said Stefanie Chiras, IBM VP for IBM Power Systems.

“Carleton University has created an innovative and automated solution with its new research campus cloud,” said Anand Krishnan, EVP at Canonical Cloud. “Canonical’s tools; MaaS and Juju enable model driven operations to become a reality, reducing complexity and risk to customers. Our special relationship with IBM creates a powerful ecosystem of infrastructure, software and tools which provide customers an automated and cost effective approach to cloud building.”

OpenStack has previously faced tough questions surrounding its complexity and what kinds of workloads could be best suited to the open source cloud platform.

But there is no escaping the fact that OpenStack negates vendor lock in, unlike rivals like Microsoft or Amazon Web Services, and is proving to be an increasingly popular solution.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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