ibm-smart-business-cloud-ubuntu1When IBM announces its Smart Business cloud computing strategy on June 16, Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution will be along for the ride. The news represents IBM's latest vote of confidence in Ubuntu, amid growing evidence that Canonical and Ubuntu are finding a home in cloud computing. Here's the scoop.

News of IBM's cloud effort broke in The New York Times on June 15. The Times story didn't mention Ubuntu, but the blogosphere is talking up IBM's growing interest in Canonical's operating system.

According to the Cloudonomics blog, IBM will extend its on-premise virtual desktop offering into the cloud. The solution allegedly will include Verde’s Virtual Bridges, Ubuntu Linux and IBM’s Open Collaboration Client Solution Software (OCCS), based on IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Notes, and Lotus applications. We'll know for sure on June 16, but I believe the early reports about Ubuntu leaping into IBM's cloud are accurate.

And Canonical insiders like John Pugh from the Ubuntu Server Team are Tweeting about IBM's cloud initiative.

A Different Kind of Server

In recent months, Canonical has been trying to convince IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard to preload Ubuntu Server Edition on selected server hardware. Also, Canonical has been striving to have server application  makers promote their software on Ubuntu.

There are signs that HP intends to certify its servers for Ubuntu. But actual Ubuntu Server Edition preload deals haven't really materialized. And most independent software vendors (ISVs) have yet to shout about their progress on Ubuntu Server Edition.

Still, cloud computing seems to be giving Canonical an alternative doorway into the server market. In addition to working within IBM's cloud, Canonical has been testing Ubuntu Server Edition within the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). And Canonical has aggressively stated that Ubuntu 9.10 -- expected to debut in October 2009 -- will emphasize cloud enhancements.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting Ubuntu can dominate next-generation cloud infrastructure. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Novell SUSE Linux, Microsoft Windows Server and plenty of other mainstream operating systems have scored wins within Amazon Web Services and other major cloud initiatives.

But Canonical is in the cloud game. And IBM will reinforce that fact on June 16.

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