Canonical's Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) sounds like its set to get a boost from IBM. A source attending HostingCon says a deeper relationship between IBM and Canonical could be announced as soon as July 20. And the relationship, which may surface at OSCON, could give Ubuntu and IBM's DB2 database a lift in the cloud. Here's why.

As you may recall, Canonical has been working since mid-2009 to build ISV support for the Ubuntu 10.04 launch in April 2010. Eager partners have included Alfresco and GroundWork Open Source.

Next up, Canonical appears poised to strengthen its existing IBM relationship. A source close to Canonical says a new appliance -- designed around Ubuntu and IBM's DB2 database -- could surface this week at OSCON, the Open Source Convention. It sounds like the DB2 appliance will be designed to run on Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud and/or in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). I'm double-checking that chatter with Canonical.

Canonical has resold DB2 Express since around February 2008. IBM also has a vitualized desktop relationship with Canonical, involving Ubuntu and Virtual Bridges.

It's always good to see Canonical rallying ISVs around Ubuntu. But it's important to keep the news in context. Within the database market, IBM's DB2 is most popular on mainframes. But I believe DB2's market share widely trails Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server on traditional Windows and Linux servers.

Still, a stronger Ubuntu-DB2 relationship is a noteworthy step involving a big partner for Canonical. And it never hurts to have IBM on your side.