Canonical Debuts GUI for Cloud Service Management
Ubuntu Server may be one of the few enterprise operating systems that still ships without any kind of graphical interface by default, but that doesn't mean Canonical is adverse to the value of GUIs for server admins. On the contrary, the company recently introduced a new graphical tool for managing Juju, Ubuntu's server and cloud orchestration management tool. Read on for a closer look.
Creating a GUI for Juju only makes sense. After all, the primary purpose of Juju, which Canonical developed itself, is to make it easy to deploy services within cloud or traditional server environments with a minimal amount of hacking. Juju achieves this by using "charms" that IT admins can download from the Charm Store to enable to set up a variety of different services, such as Hadoop, Ceph and WordPress.
Previously, installing charms required a little bit of command line prowess. But with the debut of Ubuntu 12.10, Canonical has released a Web based graphical interface for managing Juju charms that looks something (actually, exactly) like this:
The interface, according to Canonical, will make Juju more accessible for most users in several respects:
You can select services from a library of nearly 100 charms, covering applications from node.js to Hadoop. And you can deploy them live on any of the providers that Juju supports – OpenStack, HP Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Ubuntu’s Metal-as-a-Service. You can add relations between services while they are running, explore the load on them, upgrade them or destroy them.
In one respect, it's a little ironic — or at least unexpected — that Canonical has invested in a GUI for Juju. Unlike most other major server operating systems in both the proprietary and open source channels — such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows Server — Ubuntu Server itself remains a CLI only affair, at least by default.
Nonetheless, by creating a Web-based interface for Juju, Canonical has recognized the continuing need for tools that make creating and administering clouds and other enterprise computing infrastructures easier. Even seasoned IT professionals who know their way around the command line can appreciate platforms that allow them to point and click their way through tasks.
And that's perhaps especially true in the world of the cloud, where technical advancement has arguably outpaced user-friendliness. As a result, there remain an array of opportunities for channel partners to introduce value-added tools, such as the Juju interface, that increase accessibility to the powerful technologies on which the cloud is built.