Ubuntu Linux brings IBM DB2 to the cloud

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has always had many user and developer fans. Enterprise business fans? Not so much. Canonical hopes to change that with today's, July 21, launch of a virtual appliance of IBM's DB2 Express-C software running on the Ubuntu cloud computing platform, in private and public cloud configurations. The company also announced that IBM has validated the full version of DB2 software on Ubuntu 10.04.

This is all part of Canonical's plan to make Ubuntu just as much of an enterprise business player as Novell or Red Hat. Quietly Ubuntu has already, according to the company, "become one of the most popular guest operating systems on cloud services like Rackspace and Amazon EC2. Increasingly, it is also being deployed as the host cloud infrastructure layer by private organizations and ISPs. IBM DB2 Express-C software will be available however Ubuntu is deployed on a cloud."

If you don't trust the public clouds, you can use Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. This combines Ubuntu 10.04 with the open-source Eucalyptus cloud software so creating your own cloud requires little more than plugging in USB-sticks and running installation routines on your existing servers.

DB2 Express-C is IBM's free community edition of DB2 software. Small businesses and multi-branch companies, as well as developers, can use it as their DBMS (database management system) platform. It has all of DB2's core features and can be used to power in-house DBMS applications, Web 2.0 and SOA-based solutions. What you can't do with it is use it to handle a large business' DBMS demands. You can, if it works for you, scale up from it to one of IBM's other DB2 products and run that on Ubuntu 10.04.

"A virtual cloud appliance consisting of Ubuntu and DB2 Express-C will enable customers to quickly and easily set up DB2 in both public and private cloud situations. The full commercial support of DB2 running on Ubuntu and physical servers is also attractive to customers as a protection to their investment." Neil Levine, VP of Commercial Services at Canonical told me at OSCon

Levine said, "We wanted to make DB2 on Ubuntu Linux available for developers and SMBs. At the same time, we wanted to give large companies a way to get a taste of our low cost way to try Ubuntu and DB2 on public cloud. If you want to try it, you can." Then, if you like it, you can use a more powerful DB2/Ubuntu stack on either a public or private crowd, "using the same tools and architecture that you're already using. There's no need to re-architect it."

In a statement, Robert S. Sutor, IBM's VP of Open Source and Linux said, "Customers are quickly adopting DB2 software on Linux for both on-premise and cloud computing deployments. The combination of Ubuntu and DB2 provides users with a highly integrated and tested virtual cloud appliance"

The real key to Ubuntu's offering, according to Levine, is that Canonical is trying to make using Ubuntu and a serious DBMS like DB2 as easy to use on a cloud as using Ubuntu already is on the desktop. If anyone can make cloud computing easy for any business to use, I'm betting on Canonical. Their track-record with Ubuntu speaks for itself.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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