Canonical Seeks 10 Ubuntu Cloud Hosting Partners
How do you eat an elephant? In small bytes. That old saying applies to Canonical’s emerging Ubuntu cloud strategy. Instead of attacking the entire hosting industry and attacking big rivals like Red Hat and Microsoft head-on, Canonical is quietly pursuing 10 hosting partners to pilot Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. Here are the details from HostingCon in Austin, Texas.
First up, The Planet — a major hosting provider — is using Ubuntu and the KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) hypervisor for its cloud and virtualization strategy. With the release of Ubuntu 10.04 in April 2010, Canonical’s goal was “to identify up to 10 partners to do [cloud] pilots with us,” said Nick Barcet, a cloud solutions lead at Canonical. “Three [partners] are building pilot solutions now” with more coming online by the end of 2010, he added, with production deployments expected in 2011.
Most of the pilots will involve North American hosting providers, but Canonical has received inbound inquiries from potential cloud hosting partners in Europe and at least one pilot could involve Japan, Barcet added.
In order to sharpen Canonical’s hosting partner focus, Robin Barley-Waegener has shifted from her channel sales management position to a hosting-centric partner position, Barcet said. Both Barcet and Barley-Waegener are attending HostingCon, a major managed hosting conference this week in Austin, Texas. Apparently, The VAR Guy has infiltrated the event…
Challenges and Opportunities
Moreover, Red Hat is seeking to create a powerful one-two combo with RHEL and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV, based on KVM). And Microsoft is expanding its own public cloud efforts (Windows Azure and BPOS) to include a so-called Azure Appliance for private clouds.
Still, Canonical has some opportunities in the hosting market. At HostingCon, several hosting companies told The VAR Guy that Red Hat’s service provider pricing remains too expensive for many customer deployments, potentially creating a void for Canonical and Ubuntu Enterprise Linux to fill.
Moreover, Canonical’s Barcet believes hosting companies can build open, standards-based alternatives to Amazon Web Services. The reason: Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud leverages Eucalyptus — an open source cloud system that’s compatible with Amazon APIs.
“Amazon’s service level agreement doesn’t meet everyone’s need,” noted Barcet. “Hosting companies can step in to offer Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud and Amazon-compatible offerings with different SLAs and different pricing models.”
Still, it’s early in the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud game. So far, Barcet is only willing to disclose The Planet as an initial partner. But The VAR Guy is digging to see which 10 hosting companies intend to pilot Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.