Canonical Launches Ubuntu Advantage Storage Support Service For Ceph And OpenStack Swift

Canonical may still be mostly known for its Ubuntu Linux distribution, but the company now also offers a number of (paid) services for enterprises, often with a focus on the OpenStack platform. At the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth today introduced his company’s latest offering: Ubuntu Advantage Storage.

Canonical describes the new service as a “software-defined storage support service.” It aims to let enterprises deploy their storage services on commodity hardware clusters and route support calls to specialist providers, with Canonical being the default Level 1 support service. The company is partnering with existing software-defined storage services like Ceph and the OpenStack Swift storage module, as well as NexentaEdge and SwiftStack (which itself is based on Swift).

What makes Advantage Storage different from virtually all other offerings in this space is that Canonical will charge users according to the storage capacity they actually use. There will be no fees for replicas, redundancies or backups. “We bring public cloud pricing to OpenStack on premise,” Shuttleworth said at the OpenStack Summit today.


Canonical founder (and hobby astronaut) Mark Shuttleworth.

As with Canonical’s BootStack service for standing up OpenStack clouds for businesses, the company will offer different pricing plans according to whether customers want support for clouds that they set up themselves or that they ask Canonical to stand up for them from the ground up.

Canonical will then also share revenue from this service with the open source projects like Ceph and Swift that form the basis of the service.

“We are privileged to support some of the world’s largest open storage clusters, and are now expanding our offerings to meet customer preference for on-demand, usage-based pricing, which helps customers get started,” said Shuttleworth. “Fully automated management and integration enable us to deliver a first-class experience from day one, even for smaller clusters.”

In addition to this new service, Shuttleworth also briefly talked about Canonical’s LXD hypervisor today (or “lightervisor,” as he likes to call it). According to Canonical’s latest benchmarks, LXD significantly outperforms the standard Linux KVM hypervisor. It can launch new instances 94 percent faster than KVM and provides 57 percent less latency.

He also stressed that while the press likes to compare LXD to container technologies like Docker, the two technologies are actually quite compatible. LXD, after all, is about virtual machines and not Docker-like process containers.