With Ubuntu 16.10, Canonical sharpens its focus on the cloud.
Canonical has previously set up Ubuntu as a cloud building block for deploying technologies like OpenStack quickly, predictably, and consistently. The latest aggregation of Ubuntu features shows Canonical is sticking with OpenStack as a selling point, but also keeping an eye on what else can complement the package.
The biggest new addition is Canonical's distribution of Kubernetes, the container-orchestration framework for OpenStack's inside-out reinvention. To customize, Canonical brings in compatibility with tools such as Juju, Canonical's service management utility that, like Mesosphere's DCOS, allows service deployment to clouds via basic commands.
Canonical has been stumping for its version of OpenStack ever since statistics emerged back in 2014 showing Ubuntu as the preferred distribution in use with it. The drumbeat hasn't let up, and Ubuntu 16.10 contains the latest OpenStack (Newton) as well as support for Canonical's LXD hypervisor. The latest self-submitted stats for OpenStack deployment show KVM is still king when it comes to hypervisors, though.
LXD, which is also known as a container technology, has been in Ubuntu's OpenStack since version 15.04, alongside Docker and another Canonical creation, Snapd. Canonical is pushing LXD as the best of both worlds: the convenience of containers with the isolation of VMs. That said, the market has more or less settled on Docker as the de facto standard for containers, so LXD is likely to only make inroads as an internal solution where Ubuntu is already in wide use.
Also available, another potentially controversial addition to Ubuntu 16.10 is ZFS. This high-end file system, originally devised by Sun Microsystems, has not previously been included in Linux distributions due to licensing restrictions. Canonical believed it could distribute ZFS with Ubuntu without violating the GPL, so it added support for ZFS via the OpenZFS project when it released Ubuntu 16.04. So far, Canonical hasn't faced any legal challenges for doing so, possibly because ZFS isn't available by default -- it has to be manually added and configured by the administrator.