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Canonical Updates Ubuntu Linux Landscape

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted September 13, 2012


Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu Linux operating system distribution, is updating its Landscape systems management tool.

The Landscape 12.09 update provides Ubuntu administrators with new compliance tools and management controls. Landscape is able to control and manage physical, virtual and cloud deployments.

"This is a major upgrade — we are expanding in terms of making the tool chain more enterprise grade for any automation needs that companies might have," Federico Lucifredi, Landscape Product Manager at Canonical, told ServerWatch. "We're also now expanding into the compliance space so we can cover compliance and governance reporting needs."

From a compliance standpoint, the new Landscape release has a reporting dashboard that enables system administrators to see the patch level status of all the machines under administration.

Lucifredi explained that it's now possible to see the percentages of systems that have updated to a given patch within a certain time period. The time base breakdown of patching can enable a C-level executive to easily see what the security status is of the organization at any point in time.

With the PCI-DSS compliance standard, audits require that admins are able to prove they have been patching systems promptly, which is something that Landscape can now reveal.

"It's not just about doing the right security things, but about showing that things were done the right way," Lucifredi said. "Doing your management through Landscape, you leave an audit trail of who did what and you can show what has been done."

Going a step further for enterprise users, the new Landscape release provides an enhanced level of Role Based Access Control (RBAC). The new system enables an administrator to create an auditor guest mode. In that mode, the users has access tCanonical Ubuntu Linux Landscape Monitoringo the system in read-only mode and cannot make any update or maintenance actions.

The RBAC also enables a more granular level of user permissions overall.

Lucifredi explained that the new system makes it possible to separate what level of access users receive, so that each user only has the permission they need to carry out their job and nothing more.

Bare Metal Provisioning

Additionally, the Landscape 12.09 release can do bare metal provisioning for new server deployments. And when it comes to updating all the servers and systems on a network, Landscape now has the ability to host local repositories.

"So an enterprise can take down a copy from the Ubuntu mirro and create a local copy, and then the team can check if it would interfere with any existing workload," Lucifredi said. "The enterprise can then push the patches out to production, and that can all now be one by local repositories."

From an updating perspective, Landscape can now be set up to auto-update systems with specific sets of packages, from specific repositories as configured by the administrator.

The other big ticket item that Canonical has backed into the new Landscape release is scalability. According to Lucifredi, Landscape can now manage up to 40,000 devices from a single installation.

Landscape is available as both an on-premises release as well as a hosted Software-as-a-Service offering.

Canonical offers Landscape as part of the commercial Ubuntu Advantage program — it isn't freely available as open source software.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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