Canonical’s Stripped-Down “Snappy” Ubuntu Comes To Google’s Compute Engine

A week ago, Canonical released the first alpha version of its new minimalist “Snappy” edition of Ubuntu Core for container farms. To the surprise of many, the launch partner for Snappy was Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. Starting today, however, you will also be able to use this version of Ubuntu on Google’s Compute Engine.

Google has clearly made support for containers a major focus of its cloud computing efforts (and more so than any of its competitors), so today’s announcement doesn’t come as a big surprise.

2014-12-15_1954The basic idea behind Snappy and Ubuntu Core is to give developers access to a minimal server image that only features the necessary libraries to then install whatever application a developer needs. Those applications then run in their own sandboxed “AppArmor” environments — a system Canonical developed for its mobile efforts. The other feature that makes Snappy stand out is its focus on transactional updates, which should ensure that failed updates can’t bring your system down (as it’ll just roll back to the old version of either Ubuntu or the app you tried to update).

You can read more about the details of what sets Snappy apart from Canonical’s other Linux distributions here.

“Ubuntu Core is the leanest and most efficient version of Ubuntu for cloud deployments with a particular focus on Docker and containers,” said Robbie Williamson, Canonical’s VP of Cloud Engineering in a canned statement today. “We’re delighted to bring Ubuntu Core, with snappy packages, to the Google Cloud Platform, which is widely recognised for its performance and Google’s emphasis on container technologies.”

Ubuntu tells me that it’s also preparing to bring Snappy to “another major public cloud” later this month. Chances are, that’s Amazon Web Services.