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Dell, Canonical announce new Ubuntu 12.04 support for servers

Dell's 12th-generation PowerEdge server line now supports the use of Ubuntu 12.04 across the board, thanks to a new agreement between the hardware maker and developer Canonical that provides Ubuntu Advantage services to Dell's customers.

Dell now offers 74 server models certified for use with Ubuntu, according to Canonical -- the most of any major hardware OEM. The company's 12th-generation line, which was released in February 2012, is its latest and most advanced.

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StorageIO senior adviser Greg Schulz said in an email that the newly expanded partnership could offer additional value to customers.

"[Not being] the new kid on the block from a server standpoint can be a good thing as long as the platform still has legs and is able to do the job, thus moving it into a value play when paired up with Ubuntu," he said.

Ubuntu Advantage is Canonical's paid support offering, and is thought to be a keystone of the company's financial stability, although Canonical is privately held and no exact figures are available. Schulz said that enterprise adoption of Ubuntu is growing -- though it's also already higher than many might realize.

"Ironically ... there is more of it out there embedded or behind the scenes in various appliances or turnkey systems that organizations may not be aware of," he said.

Canonical said in an official blog post that much of the work leading up to today's announcement centered on ensuring Ubuntu 12.04's compatibility with the latest storage technology, like PCIe solid-state drives, 4K block drives and Dell's PowerEdge RAID controllers.

According to Schulz, this type of work is a critical concern for enterprise Linux.

"Compatibility, co-exists, those are key or basic check box qualities for moving into the enterprise [in] particular for servers, keep in mind that Linux grew up from being a workstation around a disk, vs. shared storage and server type functions, so over the past decades, Linux has been expanding and addressing those issues," he said.

New Ubuntu versions of Dell server hardware are available now in the U.S., with worldwide availability to follow.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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