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Canonical Landscape 1.5 Extends Ubuntu Linux Management for Enterprises

Enterprise-ready Management Tools

  • May 24, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner
Landscape 1.5 is being officially announced this week, providing users of Ubuntu Linux with new management and deployment capabilities.

The new Landscape follows the debut of Ubuntu's most recent Long-Term Support (LTS) release, the latest edition of the open source Linux distro aimed at providing enterprises with the ability to maintain and upgrade their deployed Ubuntu distributions. Now with the Landscape 1.5 release, Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system, is extending its management platform as it looks to further grow its enterprise business.

"What Landscape 1.5 represents is a focus on the features and learning we got from the enterprise customers we've worked with in the past six months or so," Ken Drachnik, Landscape manager at Canonical, told InternetNews.com. "Ultimately for Canonical, the market for all of our services is geared towards enterprise installations."

Drachnik noted that much of that enterprise learning has come since the launch of Ubuntu's dedicated, on-premises Landscape server in August 2009. Canonical also offers a hosted version of Landscape, which had been available prior to the dedicated server release. What the dedicated server provides is a way for enterprises to manage their own Landscape server for their Ubuntu Linux deployments.

Among the improvements in Landscape 1.5 are improved authentication modules to enable more seamless integration with enterprises.

"We've integrated LDAP and ActiveDirectory authentication for enterprises, which is something they've asked for, as they don't want to have to sign into Landscape separately," Drachnik said. "We implemented PAM (pluggable authentication modules) that are part of Linux, and that makes it very easy to add different authentication mechanisms to Landscape going forward."

As the timing of the Landscape 1.5 release is closely tied to the recent Ubuntu Lucid LTS release, there is at least one new LTS-related feature. With Landscape 1.5, administrators can now upgrade users from one LTS version to another. While Drachnik noted that LTS-to-LTS upgrading had been a supported upgrade path within Ubuntu itself, it had not previously been supported specifically within Landscape. Instead, Landscape has offered the ability to upgrade users from one Ubuntu release to the next release, but not from LTS to LTS.

"We find that most enterprises are using LTSes," Drachnik said. "So as part of this release, we wanted to have the automated ability to just click a button and say 'Yes, upgrade me' and then Landscape would automatically download the packages and do the upgrade."

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