A (new) datacenter? Me? Really? Why would I want that?
Answer 1: Because if you're an individual, you have problems to solve that cannot be solved by consuming one more app from a store.
Answer 2: Because if you're a company, you have problems to solve that cannot be solved economically (if at all) by your current datacenter, which is probably out-moded, out-dated, and brittle.
Recently, I've been having discussions with people who follow tech (but who don't make it a full-time job) and one thing I've been hearing and sensing is that a lot of people don't quite get "cloud" and "OpenStack". I could even add Open Source to this list, but I'll save that for later.) This is not a slam, or a criticism of them. It's an observation, and it's a shame that it's this way.
These are bright people with real work they need to get done and real problems they would like to solve. They need to get on with things without additional cognitive load and with minimal expense. But, when they hear the constant drone of cloud jargon, their eyes glaze over and when they see that complexity they think they'll need a small army of consultants to help.
In the spirit of "Amplify(ing) the Signal" (my blog's title), what is the source of this noise and how can we filter it out to find the information, the signal?
The noise: I mostly blame the tech (marketing) industry for creating and perpetuating confusion and thinking that's acceptable behaviour. With a few exceptions, this is an industry that makes no attempt to simplify technical jargon and to describe solutions in easy and obvious ways. To do so would be to allow people to get on with their lives and simply "get things done". Horror of horrors!
But in this often "messy" world, there are a few beacons and heroes; people that are really trying to make the world better and to bring technology to everyone, without bias or prejudice.
This is exactly what initially attracted me to Ubuntu. Ubuntu brought the promise of free and open computing to me. With Ubuntu, I didn't need to spend hours or days configuring kernel this and driver that and typing gobbledegook on command lines. I simply popped in a CD, and was on my way.
Eleven years later, and Ubuntu has done it again. Allow me to present the signal.
Computers are no longer just your laptop, your desktop, your phone, tablet, or gadget. Computers are now collections of machines that are interconnected. Software is no longer an "app" that runs on your device. Software is a collection of programs that run on many computers, some of which you touch and hold and own and many of which you don't. Take your blog for instance. It's likely running on someone else's machines and consists of at least a front end (content management system), a database, and maybe some load balancing.
- Cloud: A collection of computers that you don't own or manage and that you control by issuing simple commands. In return, it provides computing services to you.
Sounds a bit like what we called a datacenter years ago, right? That's because it is. But, it's an improved datacenter. Simpler, more reliable, more scalable, more versatile, and much cheaper. These new datacenters are capable of running modern software. These datacenters can be in your home, your garage, your company, or in a building somewhere else in your city, or a faraway place. The can be in a combination of more than one of these places.
- OpenStack: A popular "flavour" of cloud computing that is free, open, and available to all.
We have reached a point in history where it is now possible for you to have a solution to your problem in your own datacenter that is based on an OpenStack cloud. If someone has already installed servers for you, then you can have your solution ready to go in less than 30 minutes.
Please watch Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, show you how it's done.
It's worth watching the whole video, but if you only have a few minutes, then watch it from the point below where Mark sets up a blog hosted on an OpenStack cloud in less than one minute, with Juju.
If you have a little more time, then watch Mark demo how to build an OpenStack cloud in minutes, not in hours or days, with Autopilot.
Welcome to a simpler, more cost-effective, and more interesting tech world. I hope you will use these free and open technologies to get on with solving problems and making the world a better place.
And, I hope you will reject those in the tech industry that insist on keeping things difficult, confusing, and expensive. Or, as Mark would say...
No headcount, no consultants, no problem.
Today, Ubuntu Vancouver is proud to release our newest ubuntu-themed cocktail: the Juju Charmer!
The Juju Charmer cocktail has been meticulously crafted to meet the highest quality standards of the Juju Charmers team and community Charmers everywhere. After a full development cycle including rigorous testing, an alpha, and a beta, and numerous reviews we've refined this cocktail to match the quality and consistency that one would expect from the best Charms. Best practices distilled and mixed!
We've also worked extra hard to ensure that the taste and colour of this beautiful cocktail is something that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy regardless of whether they've ever heard of ubuntu or juju.
In fact, when you enjoy a Juju Charmer together, you might just find that they get quite curious about the world's friendliest and most collaborative development project. They may even get curious enough to sample the freedom that you enjoy every day, thanks to ubuntu and juju.
So raise a glass and cheer "Juju" (joo-joo), or even "Ubuntu" (oo-boon-too) and watch heads turn. Watch people wonder what all the fuss is about.
A full-resolution image suitable for printing is available at http://www.ubuntuvancouver.org/jujucharmer. Why not print a few thousand of these cards and hand them out to bartenders everywhere? That's how ubuntu spreads.
:~$juju deploy spin
Special thanks go to Joe Liau, co-creator.
The creators wish to thank Marco Ceppi for his superb choice of rum and also Canonical's Juju Ecosystems team for graciously providing feedback and for adding enough units to ensure spin!
Folks, I've noticed many of you are either in Vancouver or on your way to party with us. That's a good thing!
Our party is tomorrow (Thursday May 21st). You've made the right decision to join us.
Tickets are going fast. I recommend that you grab some while you can.
Remember the Ubuntini? On Thursday, we'll be unveiling something the world has not seen (or tasted) yet; the perfect encore to our now globally famous Ubuntini.
Be there for the world premiere of our latest ubuntu-themed cocktail!
Wear orange, dress as a cosmonaut, or simply come as you are. We're going to dance, socialize and celebrate the community that is ubuntu.
See you soon.
Something is coming... this Thursday night.
Will you be there to witness history?
Not in Vancouver? Book your flights!
I haven't seen a story of this week's best demo posted on Planet yet, so let me be the first to do so.
This week, Mark Shuttleworth and a bunch of fine Ubuntu and Canonical folks were in Paris for the OpenStack Developer Summit. I know what some of you might be thinking. "So what, Randall. What's that got to do with Ubuntu? And by the way, clouds are hype anyways! I'm going to fill your comments engine with the vitriol that you deserve."
Wait! Please let me explain.
Back before I first got excited about Ubuntu (in the dark ages of the mid 00's) I was a skeptic about Ubuntu too. Admittedly, I used to think "What could Ubuntu possibly offer that [insert random OS here] couldn't?" Then one day it hit me, quite by accident and probably after one-too-many attempts to replace the OS on my computer with something better. Ubuntu was accessible and made no apologies about it. Almost anyone could install and enjoy Ubuntu. It knew no prejudice. It didn't claim or try to be the OS for the 1337's. It respected humans. It gave people an easy on-ramp to a better computing experience. It gave people like you and I a means to make our world (and the world) a little better.
And so, almost 10 years later, here we are again. Except the world has become more complex and so has its problems. More than ever, humans need computers to solve big, important, world-changing problems, or simply to run their businesses and earn a living. But they don't just need one computer (like the old days). They need several, or dozens, or even hundreds of computers all working together. The means by which these computers work together is in this over-hyped term called "the cloud". Think of the cloud as a collection of computers grouped together to solve specific problems in an efficient way. We all can't afford hundreds of computers, but maybe if we all share them intelligently, we can use them to solve our problems without breaking the bank (or the bitcoin.)
So, enter the cloud. It's here. It's needed. And, it works! It's *not* hype. But, there's a problem: Confusion and complexity. Lots of it. To make use of the cloud one has to dive into a bottomless pit of arcane "kernely" "computer-sciency" concepts and commands mixed with a perilous collection of marketing buzzwords and obfuscation. It's brutal.
For the love of humanity, we don't have time for this! People need, want, and deserve a simple on-ramp to get their problems onto the cloud and solved. People need a simple tool and a simple language to describe what they want done.
A few years back, the people behind Ubuntu got involved in a big way in this thing called OpenStack. OpenStack was meant to make sharing lots of computers easier and to do so using tools (operating systems like Ubuntu, languages and technologies) that were open. Early on, the cloud ran the same risk of being all locked up in proprietary knot (just like Bug#1). Judging by the size of the OpenStack community in Paris this week, they made good progress in preventing that bleak outcome. Now more people could use Ubuntu on clouds to solve problems. But, we still couldn't claim that everyone could.
Or could we? Enter Mark, stage left. Enter Juju, stage centre.
Mark, in his predictably excellent style (but with unconventional tactics) gave the demo by enlisting a random (chosen by paper airplane) and uninitiated (never heard of or seen Juju) audience member to set up a "workload" (i.e. a problem to be solved) on OpenStack without any assistance at all. The trick? None. The mechanism? A tool called Juju. Juju is to the cloud what Ubuntu was to arcane and frustrating operating system installs a decade ago. Juju is to the cloud what the graphical user interface (GUI) was to dinosaur operating systems before that. You know the ones... the ones that Dad used, with command lines.
This is the beginning of a new era. With inspiration from Mark, I'm calling this "Ubuntu's Second Act." Lest you think that Ubuntu's story ended when the desktop became democratized once and for all, I encourage you to tune back in and see what it is doing for the cloud.