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Ubuntu 16.04 kisses the cloud, disses the desktop

Tom Henderson | Sept. 7, 2016
Latest version of popular OS offers long-term support, beefed up features for OpenStack deployments.

Cloud images for download were found in multiple packaging formats for 16.04, if you like i386 and x64 processor families, and most do. These images are ready to download, or can be spun up in numerous clouds.


Performance/Security 3.5
Manageability/administration 4
Usability/Docs 4
Overall 4

Server images have a comparatively greater choice of processor families: x86, x86-64, ARM v7, ARM64, POWER8 and IBM s390x (LinuxONE) are available for download.

What does it all mean?

Canonical has taken Ubuntu to a very strong position, and now incrementally adds features that end up sanctioning — through its support — features that others might have not considered to be ready for production use.

ZFS and Ceph are sophisticated filing systems, and they take up more CPU for casual use, and offer broadly sophisticated architectural possibilities, now also joined to OpenStack and Ubuntu’s JuJu advocacy as rapid platform construction tools.

JuJu construction kits are now available for a number of systems platform, ranging from simple WordPress to big/fat data analysis kits. While these don’t necessarily rival Docker container farms, they can almost as easily be used as Docker, rkt, and other management substrates in prototyping.

For now, using AutoPilot and OpenStack is the supported choice, and Canonical takes the nexus of making things work upon themselves, just as Red Hat must make its supported kit work. We expect Ubuntu’s popularity to continue unabated, but there isn’t anything magnificent in the 16.04 release, except continuing breadth with depth.

How We Tested Ubuntu 16.04

We downloaded and used Ubuntu 16.04 x64 cloud, server, and desktop versions, then deployed them mostly as VMs, excepting two tests. We also tested 16.04 on AWS. The cloud versions were used on local hardware using AutoPilot, Juju, and OpenStack in the lab on an HP Microserver Gen8 (i3 chipset, 8GB of memory, 1.5TB of disk, twin Gigabit Ethernet ports) testing Ubuntu and Windows 2012 R2 as VM instances.

We also deployed 16.04 server and desktop on the following platforms in our network operations center: VMware ESXi 5.1, 5.5, and 6.0, as well as Hyper-V 3.1, and XenServer 6.5.0. Additionally, we installed 16.04 desktop and server versions as virtual machines under Parallels for Mac 11.

We noted that little has changed from a deployment context from the last LTS version, 14.04, and scripts for 14.04 work with 16.04 in terms of PxE and Ubuntu’s Metal-as-a-Service — now enhanced by the OpenStack management plane. The versions are interchangeable for one-off install scripts, such as PxE loads.

The NOC is powered by HP Gen8 and Gen9 servers, a Lenovo multi-core server, and a Dell 730xd multicore server, all connected via Extreme Summit Series 10GBE switches to Expedient Data Center’s core network in Indianapolis.


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