DENVER – Canonical this week moved to simplify its service offerings in an attempt to lower cost and attract more customers looking to jump into the open source game. The move also comes ahead of a planned initial public offering that could handsomely compensate the company’s staff.
The move is under its Ubuntu Advantage (UA) for Infrastructure program that consolidates enterprise security, compliance, and support for up to 10 years. It consolidates that support for Linux, Kubernetes, Docker, OpenStack, KVM, Ceph, and Swift.
Ubuntu is Canonical’s distribution system for Linux, designed to run on computing devices, network servers, and in the cloud. It includes an OpenStack version and a Kubernetes option. It also is the basis for most public cloud instances including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Oracle Cloud.
The UA for Infrastructure platform offers three levels of support. The basic is the “Essential” level that provides for kernel live patches, security fixes, and infrastructure management. It also covers regulatory compliance for Linux and infrastructure components, including base Docker images.
The “Standard” and “Advanced” levels include technical support for open infrastructure, the development of long-term fixes to specific defects, and legal assurance.
During a keynote address at this week’s Open Infrastructure Summit (OIS) in Denver, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth said the move “removes some of the friction for people wanting to embrace open infrastructure.”
Canonical also explained that the move will drive down deployment and management costs for enterprises running large-scale Linux operations. Competitively, the company notes the program is even more targeted at what it terms more expensive offerings from rivals Red Hat and VMware, “which require additional licenses per host or per [virtual machine (VM)] for capabilities like OpenStack and Kubernetes.”
That positioning is becoming more important as Red Hat is in the process of being acquired by IBM for $34 billion, which will boost its ability to target the large enterprise space. VMware is a part of the larger Dell conglomerate, and VMware recently closed on a $550 million acquisition of Kubernetes-focused startup Heptio.
IPO Plans Remain
Shuttleworth in a separate interview at the OIS event also said that Canonical remains on track for a long-gestating IPO. Those plans were initially hinted at in mid-2017.
Shuttleworth stated two reasons behind the IPO move: the first was to tap into the public markets to help fund a company that is basically serving as a public utility so it’s appropriate for Canonical to look for public funds; and also “it’s the right way to reward the management team.”
“Since we made that decision just over two years ago, the business has grown substantially,” Shuttleworth said. “We have gained a bunch of efficiencies and solidified our self-sufficiency. I am very satisfied with what our team has done.”
Shuttleworth has been the primary source of outside funding to Canonical since he founded the company in 2004. Shuttleworth did add that he is focused on maintaining the company’s core values even “if you are being measured on specific metrics. You could [lose that focus], but we won’t.”