Canonical aims to make cloud orchestration a breeze with Juju

Canonical aims to make cloud orchestration a breeze with Juju

SAN DIEGO -- While there are a growing number of OpenStack code distributions and more to come, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth says inefficiencies remain around being able to easily deploy and manage OpenStack clouds.

Canonical's answer to that is Juju, an open source service orchestrator that provides a simple graphical user interface (GUI) to launch and manage OpenStack-powered clouds.

Shuttleworth wants to make building clouds as easy as choosing features from a drop-down menu and connecting them. To prove it, he demoed Juju at the OpenStack Design Summit by updating an OpenStack cloud powering a production instance of WordPress from the Essex release of the code to the newest Folsom release in less than three minutes.

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Canonical, maker of Linux-based OS Ubuntu, has spent the last six months developing Juju, and Shuttleworth says it can run across any Linux OS, although he points out that Ubuntu is the leading OpenStack OS.

As an open source project, Juju is made up of "charms" that are contributed by individual developers for deploying certain features within the platform. For example, in the WordPress demonstration, Shuttleworth showed how he chose a memcached charm from a dropdown menu and plugged it into his OpenStack-powered cloud that was running a SQL server. Adding charms for identity management, storage and other features would have been just as easy to do from the dropdown menu. Users can access the system through a public cloud -- Shuttleworth was using HP's -- or deploy Juju behind a firewall.

Juju eases the deployment of cloud features from potentially taking weeks, to literally taking minutes, Shuttleworth says.

OpenStack Executive Director Jonathan Bryce says improving usability of OpenStack is a key area that has seen increased activity in recent months. "People eventually want to deal less with the infrastructure," he says, and just have a way to easily deploy new features within their cloud.

There are similar features available to do this sort of work, most notably Chef, another open source orchestration tool, but its focus is not on a simple and elegant GUI like Juju.

Other third-party apps also aim to ease the deployment process for accessing cloud resources, such as RightScale and enStratus, but those are more portals to control cloud instances rather than architecting the systems, as Juju does.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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