Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, November 27, 2021

Pivotal Adds Ubuntu to Cloud Foundry 

The steady shift to cloud native infrastructure continues with a partnership between enterprise software vendor Pivotal and Linux specialist Canonical that will provide secure images from Canonical's Linux distribution Ubuntu on the Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

The partners said Wednesday (July 6) they also would continue working to "harden" the Cloud Foundry distribution of the Ubuntu operation system to comply with federal benchmarks. Those include a U.S. military standard overseen by the Defense Information Systems Agency called the Security Technical Implementation Guide along with the Center for Internet Security benchmark.

The hardening initiative reflects growing security demands among government and highly regulated customers, the companies noted.

Meanwhile, Pivotal and Canonical said they are collaborating on a proposed industry standard set of security certifications for running Ubuntu on cloud native platforms. They said more details would be released later this year.

San Francisco-based Pivotal cited Ubuntu's track record of predictable software updates every six months along with growing enterprise adoption in both the cloud and physical machines. It also cited London-based Canonical's security track record and heavy involvement in the shift to Linux-based application containers.

Meanwhile, Canonical gains a high-flying cloud platform partner already collaborating with large enterprises such as Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). The automaker led a $253 million funding round closed by Pivotal in May, the second largest so far this year. Joining Ford in the funding round were Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), another new investor, along with previous investors General Electric (NYSE: GE), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and VMware (NYSE: VMW).

Three-year-old Pivotal is reportedly now valued at nearly $3 billion. Along with Ford, GE and Microsoft, the enterprise software vendor claims to work with about one-third of Fortune 100 companies.

The automaker recently launched its FordPass consumer platform based on its earlier collaboration with Pivotal. The platform is designed to help customers, for example, find parking spaces or share a ride.

Microsoft's investment reflects what the partners said is growing demand among enterprise developers for a tighter connections between Microsoft Azure and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. In a statement, Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie said Cloud Foundry would help it expand Azure support for running Java applications.

Pivotal said the funding would be used to scale its software development platform as it seeks to extend its cloud and analytics software capabilities. It previously announced an enterprise cloud native stack that combines Cloud Foundry with VMware's Photon platform designed to run and scale cloud-native applications via containers on premises.

This week's deal with Canonical also addresses the shift toward cloud-native applications running in containers along with security issues like delivering certified Ubuntu images on Cloud Foundry. The partners said automated security patch management would provide Cloud Foundry users with a "rapid response" approach to Linux security vulnerabilities.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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