The cloud-init package is updated and it handles early initialization cloud VM instances for Amazon UEC or EC2 image use. Cloud-init wraps metadata information for cloud instance deployment including things like establishing the VM's default locale, hostname, SSH key generation, mounting points, and other characteristics.
Other server component changes in 11.04 include PowerNap, which uses new methods to reduce power consumption, but also to report on other hardware states (CPU load, activity, and process I/O), and network activity (wake-on-LAN settings, and specific port I/O activity).
Overall, the server and virtualization/cloud components are becoming blurred and server features are now highly poised towards multiple instance use — whether on physical machines, or as virtualized or cloud-resident instances. In turn, the instances might be on an internal cloud or in a third-party hosted cloud — especially Amazon's.
Canonical has pushed Ubuntu along, and teased us with potential tablet offerings. In the server space, where things are more serious, Ubuntu now deploys more quickly and sensibly into a variety of virtualized instances and joins one of two prominent cloud organizational camps. Ubuntu wants to be taken seriously for cloud use, but also for desktop use.
Henderson is managing director and Brendan Allen is a researcher for ExtremeLabs, of Bloomington, Ind. Henderson can be reached at email@example.com.
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