Canonical Promotes LXD Containers through Ubuntu 16.04 Release

LXD, Canonical’s LXC-based container platform, is still cooling from the oven, but the company is pushing it hard to enterprises through the release this week of Ubuntu Linux 16.04, where LXD is a headline feature.

LXD 2.0, the first production-quality release of the platform (there was never an LXD 1.0), debuted as recently as April 11. But Canonical is using the release on April 21 of Ubuntu 16.04 as an opportunity to emphasize its view that LXD is ready for prime time.

“A key new feature in this release is LXD, the pure-container hypervisor that delivers 14x the density and substantially greater speed for Linux guests compared to established traditional virtualisation,” Canonical said in a statement about the Ubuntu 16.04 release. “LXD is part of LXC 2.0, the latest release of the Linux Containers project and the basis for almost all PAASinfrastructures in production today. Canonical has led LXC development for several years, with contributions to LXC 2.0 coming from more than 80 companies.”

Dustin Kirkland, Canonical’s leader of product strategy, added that LXD positions Ubuntu 16.04 as a platform for “ultra-fast and ultra-dense cloud computing.”

As a new technology, LXD might seem to some admins and CTOs like a riskier container solution to adopt right now than tried-and-true Docker, which has been around much longer. But Canonical is keen to dispel that notion. Asked during a press call on April 19 whether LXD is “mature enough that it can be fully supported by Canonical for its largest carrier class customers,” Canonical responded:

Without a doubt, yes. LXD is LXC 2.0, a battle tested foundation that is very widely used in production. Canonical itself has used LXC for numerous Ubuntu.com and Canonical.com production services for many years, and in fact LXC has been used in every production OpenStack cloud that Canonical has deployed to date. The LXD code base itself is tastefully designed and implemented, and simplifies many LXC deployments. We’ve backported LXD to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which is where we’ve seen most LXD in production to date.

The response from our customers and partners in the Telco and Finance verticals has been fantastic,where Linux-on-Linux workloads need to operate at optimum performance and with maximum density. LXD is an exciting new hypervisor – faster and denser than anything Linux has seen before.

Adding to LXD’s readiness for enterprise deployments as part of Ubuntu 16.04 is the fact that this version of Ubuntu is a “long-term support,” or LTS, release. That means it will receive support for five years, much longer than most other Ubuntu releases, which Canonical supports for only about a year. The company issues LTS versions of Ubuntu every two years.

Whether enterprises are as confident about LXD at this point as Canonical remains to be seen. But there’s no question that Canonical aims to send a strong message to the container ecosystem that LXD is ready to play in the big leagues, and that Canonical wants to establish itself alongside CoreOS and Docker as one of the major vendors in the container space (even though Canonical sees LXD filling a different sort of niche, since it’s designed to run entire operating systems inside a container rather than a single app).

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.

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