Canonical has announced the first commercial endorsement of Snappy Ubuntu Core, the transactionally updated open source OS for the cloud and embedded devices. The platform will soon power network-control hardware from several vendors.
Canonical launched Snappy Ubuntu Core in late 2014. The platform provides a minimalist version of Ubuntu Linux, combined with transactional updates that make it easy to install applications and services on top of the base OS.
The transactional update mechanism provides more security than that available on the traditional operating system. It also has the advantage of making it easy to roll back the system in case something goes wrong. For those reasons, as well as its minimalist footprint, it is well-suited for certain types of operations in the cloud and on embedded devices, where tight security and high availability are essential.
There has been relatively little news from Canonical about Snappy Ubuntu Core until this week, when the company announced at the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo that several vendors will soon begin offering open network switches that run the OS. They include Quanta, Amega and Penguin Computing.
Canonical is pitching the solutions as a way for users to obtain networking hardware that is not bound to particular software platforms. Ubuntu Snappy Core offers “a common, neutral operating system shared by multiple vendors, each of which focuses just on their particular network control system, delivered essentially as an application on the neutral OS,” Canonical said in a statement. “Ubuntu Core does not itself control the switch data plane; such network control is handled by vendor software packaged as a ‘snap.’ Customers select the network control snap they prefer, keeping a common underlying platform for management and security purposes.”
The list of vendors that have endorsed Ubuntu Snappy Core for networking hardware is short, and it includes no huge industry names. Meanwhile, the network device marketplace is only a small slice of the territory Canonical eventually hopes to conquer with this OS. But this may be an important first step.