Hewlett-Packard Embraces Ubuntu Server EditionIt's one small step for Hewlett-Packard, and one giant leap for Ubuntu Server Edition and Canonical. Specifically, HP and Canonical are working to certify HP ProLiant servers to run Ubuntu Server Edition, Canonical marketing manager Gerry Carr has confirmed to WorksWithU. Here are the preliminary details, and its implications for customers.

First, let's keep the HP-Canonical work in perspective. To be clear: HP so far has not agreed to preload Ubuntu Server Edition on ProLiant hardware.

Rather, HP is partnering with Canonical to "move towards full certification of Ubuntu on Proliant servers," wrote Carr in an email to WorksWithU. "The certification means HP will list Ubuntu [Server Edition] as a supported operating system and verify the work undertaken by Canonical to ensure full certified compatibility. Furthermore both companies are fully co-operating at the engineering level to provide full underlying confidence for HP customers using the certified servers."

The HP-Canonical server relationship is the latest step in Canonical's Ubuntu Server Edition initiative. Among the milestones so far, Canonical:

Challenges Ahead

Our own WorksWithU 1,000 readership survey also highlights growing momentum for Ubuntu Server Edition. However, Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux continue to overshadow Ubuntu Server Edition in terms of mind share and market share.

For the most part, server hardware makers have been slow to embrace Ubuntu. Although IBM's server team announced the virtual Ubuntu desktop effort in December 2008, neither IBM nor Dell have done much with Ubuntu Server Edition yet. And Sun hasn't said much about its Ubuntu Server Edition strategy in recent months.

Overall, it's safe to say that Canonical's greatest momentum remains on desktops and netbooks. But HP's decision to soon certify Ubuntu Server Edition on ProLiant hardware should not be overlooked. It's a sign of things to come with Canonical's server push.

Indeed, Canonical has published Ubuntu Server Edition research reports in 2008 and 2009 to highlight accelerating customer commitments to the server operating system. One prime example: Canonical earlier this month spoke with a Chicago-based finance house that runs entirely on Ubuntu Server Edition. The deployment includes open and proprietary server applications on HP servers with some Dell hardware mixed in, noted Carr.

As HP and Canonical continue their certification work, it's safe to expect more ProLiant customers to give Ubuntu Server Edition a look.

WorksWithU is updated multiple times per week. Don’t miss a single post. Sign up for our RSS and Twitter feeds (available now) and newsletter (coming in 2009).