Canonical Launches “Snappy” Edition Of Ubuntu Core For Container Farms

A few years ago, Ubuntu launched a minimalist “core” version of its operating system for embedded systems. Today, it is launching an alpha version of its new “snappy” edition of Ubuntu Core with transactional updates that is specifically geared toward container farms, large Docker deployments and platform-as-a-service environments. The first place you will be able to see Ubuntu Core in action is on Microsoft Azure (or you could install it on your own servers, of course).

snappy“Ubuntu Core builds on the world’s favourite container platform and provides transactional updates with rigorous application isolation,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical. “This is the smallest, safest platform for Docker deployment ever, and with snappy packages, it’s completely extensible to all forms of container or service.” The company’s announcement today calls snappy Ubuntu the “biggest revolution in Ubuntu since we launched our mobile initiative.”

What makes this new Core edition different from Ubuntu’s previous Core versions is that it uses the same Ubuntu AppArmor security system as Ubuntu’s mobile operating system. This ensures that all the applications you install are completely isolated from each other. The company argues that this will make it “much safer to install applications from a wide range of sources on your cloud deployments.” A problem with one application, after all, is much less likely to have any effect on other applications running on the same system.

Ubuntu also notes that updates are much easier and more reliable because of this system. Before every update, your data is backed up automatically and if the update fails, it simply rolls back to the previous version, with all of your data intact.

Screenshot from 2014-12-09 085230

Ubuntu has clearly embraced Docker and containerization in general. Just last month, it launched LXD, its own hypervisor for Linux containers. “We’re delighted to see the Docker ecosystem expand with this exciting new platform,” said Docker’s CEO Ben Golub in a canned statement today. “Docker’s transactional application delivery is shaping modern application development and DevOps practice, and snappy Ubuntu promises to bring the same transactional updates to the operating system itself.”

“Microsoft loves Linux.“ Microsoft's Bob Kelly
In a move that will surprise quite a few people, Ubuntu has worked with Microsoft to make its Azure cloud computing platform the first commercial solution to support this new Ubuntu Core alpha. Microsoft loves Linux, and we’re excited to be the first cloud provider to offer a new rendition of one of the most popular Linux platforms in the rapidly growing Azure cloud,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft. “By delivering the new cloud-optimised Ubuntu Core image on Azure, we’re extending our first-class support for Linux and enabling freedom of choice so developers everywhere can innovate even faster.”

While Ubuntu didn’t announce any additional partners, chances are you will soon find Ubuntu Core on other platforms as well.