Google has adopted for use in its cloud a streamlined version of the Canonical Ubuntu Linux distribution tweaked to run Docker and other containers.
Ubuntu Core was designed to provide only the essential components for running Linux workloads in the cloud. An early preview edition of it, which Canonical calls "Snappy," was released last week. The new edition jettisoned many of the libraries and programs usually found in general use Linux distributions that were unnecessary for cloud use.
The Google Compute Engine (GCE) joins Microsoft Azure in supporting the fresh distribution.
According to Canonical, Ubuntu Core should provide users with an easy way to deploy Docker, an increasingly lightweight virtualisation container that allows users to quickly spin up workloads and easily move them around, even across different cloud providers.
Google has been an ardent supporter of Docker and container-based virtualisation itself. In June, the company released as open source its software for managing containers, called Kubernetes.
The design of Ubuntu Core is similar to another Linux distribution, CoreOS, first released a year ago.
Developed in part by two ex-Rackspace engineers, CoreOS is a lightweight Linux distribution designed to work in clustered, highly scalable environments favored by companies that do much or all of their business on the Web.
CoreOS was quickly adopted by many cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean and Google Compute Engine.
Like CoreOS, Ubuntu Core offers an expedited process for updating components, reducing the amount of time that an administrator would need to manually manage them.