Turnkey Ubuntu-Based Linux for Amazon Cloud: Review

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The Turnkey Linux service runs on Amazon Web Services and is good for test driving cloud apps

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.

Ubuntu customised for Amazon features

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 customisation 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 virtualisation 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.

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