Ubuntu 22.04 supports confidential cloud computing and makes compliance easier

Multipass now supports Apple M1 and makes compliance with data privacy laws easier.

Canonical announced today that the latest version of Ubuntu supports Azure Confidential virtual machines and deeper integration with Active Directory. Ubuntu 22.04 also marks the first LTS release with desktop support on the Raspberry Pi 4.

Product Strategy Manager Lech Sandecki and other company leaders explained the features of the latest release in a press call earlier this week. Canonical reported these Ubuntu usage stats in this call:

  • 100,000 launches daily across public clouds
  • 800,000 image pulls daily on DockerHub
  • 40% of open stack developments
  • 34% of Linux-hosted web sites

LjLal Loutfi, Canonical’s security product manager for Ubuntu, said this new capability ensures VM confidentiality at rest and at run time.

“By using Ubuntu on Azure, you can protect your code from other virtual machines, from firmware and from staff,” she said. “All these security guarantees are rooted at the deep hardware level.”

SEE: Cybercriminals are finding new ways to target cloud environments

This feature will simplify compliance with GDPR and enable secure multi-party data sharing, according to Canonical. Loutfi said medical researchers from different companies could use this functionality to share datasets, analyze the information as a team and use the results to develop better drugs or diagnostic tools.

“This is privacy-preserving computation in real time,” she said.

Ubuntu is the only Linux distribution that supports Azure Confidential VS, according to the company. Canonical stated in a press release that this hardware-level encrypted guest isolation combines with measured boot and TPM-backed full-disk encryption implemented in Ubuntu and Azure Managed HSM ensures that customer code and data are encrypted in use, in transit and at rest using encryption keys that are protected and can be controlled by the customer.

In this release, Canonical also optimized Ubuntu 22.04 LTS images for AWS Graviton. On AWS, Ubuntu is available from EC2 with multiple images including support for the latest Graviton chips.

Enhanced Windows and Apple support

Canonical also announced that with this release Ubuntu WSL will be pre-enabled on Windows workstations for streamlined Linux and Windows development. Ubuntu WSL includes deep integration with native Windows development environments like Visual Studio Code and Docker Desktop across a shared file system. Users can mix Windows and Linux commands in workflows for data science, web development and IT systems management. Users of Ubuntu WSL can upgrade to 22.04 LTS directly.

Massimiliano Gori, a product manager at Canonical, said that the new release has enhanced Active Directory integration so that users can manage Ubuntu devices with the same tools they use for Windows devices.

“We now offer support for all AD functionality, where this was limited to authentication previously,” he said.

Active Directory is now fully supported in the Ubuntu installer with Advanced Group Policy Object, and allows more refined user permissions and script execution control from within Active Directory.

Gori also said that the Ubuntu team spent a lot of time over the last two years to make compliance with PCI-DSS, HIPAA and FedRAMP easier.

“FIPS 140-2 certified Ubuntu images on AWS fulfill our FedRAMP compliance requirements,” Patrick Kaeding, security engineer at LaunchDarkly, said in a press release.

Also in this release, Multipass adds Apple M1 support which developers can use for new Arm cloud instances. Multipass now supports Docker workflows as well.
For shared development environments, multi-user LXD offers per-user project segregation, restricting specific user permissions so multiple people can safely share the LXD cluster.

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is available today on Ubuntu Downloads and major public clouds.

Real-time kernel in beta

Canonical also announced that the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS real time kernel is available in beta and designed to support telco network needs for 5G. The kernel provides ultra-low latency and security for critical infrastructure and is suitable for dedicated devices in industrial automation and robotics.

High demand for jobs at Canonical

Mark Shuttleworth, CEO, said the changes in the latest release underpin the work of people who want to develop the next technological innovation. This includes both large companies and individuals who contribute to the open-source software.

“For the innovators at Intel, AMD and Nvidia, we see Ubuntu as the fast path for them to prototype the future,” he said. “People looking to transform ops within a bank, telco or automotive company, it’s those people looking to Ubuntu for the springboard to build what they want to do next.”

Shuttleworth said Canonical’s revenue was $175 million in 2021 and that the company received 110,000 job applications that year as well.

“We continue to have demand well out ahead of our ability to deliver,” he said. “We’re going to float the business in 2023 and we’re taking active steps at the board level to be prepared for that.”

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