February 01, 2011, 4:31 PM — Ubuntu and Dell have come up with a scheme to make it easier for Amazon EC2 customers to shift workloads to and from the cloud -- by shipping Dell servers preloaded with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud software, or UEC.
What's interesting is that the two have said they are also supporting OpenStack, a standard intended to provide an alternative to Amazon lock-in. But these servers, the PowerEdge C2100 and C6100, will not include OpenStack, at least out of the gate.
UEC is based on based on Eucalyptus Systems' "private" cloud technology, which is a fancy way of saying it virtualizes a server's resources. UEC and Eucalyptus are aligned closely with Amazon EC2, and include EC2's APIs. Indeed, Eucalyptus Systems' famous CEO, Marten Mickos (formerly of MySQL), is known to be an advocate of the idea that EC2's APIs are a de facto standard in the cloud world and there's nothing wrong with treating them like a real standard. (A de facto standard? Widely used technology controlled by a single company? Didn't that way of doing interoperability go out with the 1990s?)
I pointed out the problem with vendor lock-in after my last interview with Canonical, in conjunction with the release of Ubuntu 10.10. Shortly after my post, word leaked that Canonical wanted to shed its total dependence on Amazon and Eucalyptus. Rumors surfaced that it would add support for the OpenStack API, developed by Rackspace and founded on code from NASA's Nebula cloud. Dell also signed on as an OpenStack supporter (as have other heavy hitters including Microsoft with Hyper-V).
Earlier this month, Canonical confirmed that its next big release of Ubuntu, code-named Natty Narwhal (v11.04), would include both Eucalyptus and OpenStack. It is scheduled for release in April.