Have you ever wanted to experiment with the latest cutting-edge cloud software, but run it on the same long-term support release of Ubuntu that you have all your other apps and services working on?
Well, now you can. Today, Canonical has released the Cloud Archive for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server, an online software repository from which administrators can download the latest versions of OpenStack, for use with the latest long-term support (LTS) release of Ubuntu. This is hugely significant step for OpenStack users, because it means they can now access the latest OpenStack releases and betas on a stable and supported platform that is certified with many of the leading server vendors.
As many people know, the tradition of Ubuntu Server is to release every six months, with every fourth release (or two years) being a Long Term Support (LTS) version supported for five years. The interim releases are supported for 18 months. This generally works well: businesses that require a solid infrastructure for a long period of time normally use the most recent LTS, rather than upgrading every 6-18 months.
Users often find that this predictable release schedule allows all areas of a workload lifecycle (from requirement, design, develop to deploy) to work well. However, sometimes a key piece of the stack is needed. This leaves users in a quandary: jump to a later (non-LTS) Ubuntu release, or find something that helps solve the problem, building on the LTS release.
One way to try and address this problem is via backports. Over the years, there has been attempts to use the Ubuntu Backports repository, and also ‘blessed’ PPA’s (Personal Package Archives) or private in-house archives to provide access to later technologies backported from upstream.
With OpenStack, which underpins Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure, we needed to think about how we would deliver the new OpenStack releases on 12.04 LTS without backporting, as using the Backports Archive would restrict the number of versions we could support concurrently (unless we opted for multiple Backport archives). OpenStack made the early decision to implement their development processes around the Ubuntu development process and to follow our release cadence. This has helped OpenStack deliver features with pace and on a deadline but crucially, it has allowed us to put continuous integration testing in place to integrate and test OpenStack code as soon as it is committed.
So with OpenStack we are now building, integrating, testing and publishing all the OpenStack milestones and stable releases on 12.04 LTS. This is a departure from our previous policy but the process for updates getting into the Ubuntu Cloud Archive has been designed to closely align with the processes that the normal Ubuntu Archive would have for Stable Release Updates.
With a fast moving technology such as OpenStack, this is hugely significant, as we see many customers testing the milestones and building seed clouds with the latest code. All this helps us find bugs and improve the code for all – which can only be a good thing.
To get access to the Ubuntu Cloud archive, please add the following entries to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
# Public -proposed archive mimicking the SRU process, packages should bake here for at least 7 days.
# This is also where extended testing is performed
deb http://ubuntu-cloud.archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise-proposed/folsom main
# The primary updates archive that users should be using
deb http://ubuntu-cloud.archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise-updates/folsom main
# Upstream milestone archive, this example is pinned to Folsom-1 upstream, then an example of Folsom-2.
# This, being a snapshot, will not receive further updates.
deb http://ubuntu-cloud.archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise-updates/folsom/snapshots/milestone-1 main
deb http://ubuntu-cloud.archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise-updates/folsom/snapshots/milestone-2 main
* “To have your cake and eat it [too]” is an old English saying that is sometimes used to imply the desire for two incompatible things.
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