In a move that shouldn't be much of a surprise, given the close collaboration between Canonical and Inktank—not to mention Mark Shuttleworth personally—around the open source Ceph storage system for Big Data and the cloud, the two companies on Monday announced a deal to provide full support for Ceph on Ubuntu. Here are the details, and what they mean for the channel.

Ceph packages have already been available for Ubuntu for some time, but the agreement announced this week upgrades Ceph on Ubuntu to the next level. Now, Canonical and Inktank, which provides support services related to Ceph, will collaborate to offer full enterprise support for Ceph to purchasers of Canonical's Ubuntu Advantage Cloud Infrastructure support plan.

For Inktank, this is another significant win as Ceph steadily gains ground as a predominant storage system within the Big Data ecosystem. Inktank has scored a string of big deals in recent months with commercial Linux distributors and other open source enterprises, such as SUSE, Metacloud and Citrix.

In many ways, though, this is even bigger news for Canonical and Ubuntu. Although Ceph is nothing new in the Ubuntu world, its integration into the enterprise support package around which Canonical is trying to build part of its revenue stream adds another important component to the official Ubuntu cloud platform. Alongside OpenStack and Canonical's cloud management tools, including Juju, the addition of Ceph support makes Ubuntu into a yet more comprehensive, one-stop cloud platform. And it doesn't hurt Ubuntu's prospects in the Big Data ecosystem, either.

Of course, it was hard not to see this coming. Canonical has worked closely with Inktank almost since the latter's inception in 2011—and it seems to like Ceph so much that it promoted a new release offering Red Hat support on its corporate blog (that post has since disappeared, with no comment from Canonical). Meanwhile, independently of his role at Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu project, bet $1M of his own cash on Inktank and Ceph's success last fall. It seems a sure bet that close Canonical-Inktank collaboration will continue for some time to come.