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Linux / Operations

Canonical Brings Real-Time Linux to Amazon Web Services

This version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution offers a kernel that promises immediate responses to incoming requests, which can be vital for real-time operations.
Sep 12th, 2023 1:36pm by
Featued image for: Canonical Brings Real-Time Linux to Amazon Web Services
Feature image by Elias from Pixabay.

Those running workloads with very low latency requirements should take a look at the Ubuntu Pro 22.04 LTS offering that Canonical has just launched on Amazon Web Services.

This version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution offers a kernel that promises immediate responses to incoming requests, which can be vital for real-time operations. It is the first real-time version of Ubuntu to be offered on any major cloud provider, the company asserts.

The company first released the real-time Ubuntu in February and saw requests for a version for the cloud, specifically for the workload of rapid prototyping.

What makes a real-time Linux kernel different from a regular kernel is primarily is a priority scheduler, PREEMPT_RT, which can temporarily preempt all the regular threads also being run by the kernel, allowing the high-priority work to be automatically bumped to the top of the queue.

“Increasing the amount of preemptible code within the Linux kernel significantly enhances the system’s ability to provide a deterministic response time to external events. It effectively reduces kernel latencies to meet the demands of even the most rigorous workloads, ensuring predictable task execution,” explained Canonical in a statement.

A More Responsive Kernel

Canonical sees a market for the in various industrial sectors that have time-bound workloads. Automotive, manufacturing, and telecommunications, all of which have relied on real-time systems, primarily run in-house. With microchip shortages still plaguing the pipeline, cloud-based systems could help smaller players remain competitive with their larger brethren. Canonical calls this benefit “environmental parity.”

Another field of interest may be digital twins, in which virtual world-like duplicates of real-time resources such as warehouses or power plants can help engineers debug issues happening at such facilities. Supporting the backend for software-defined vehicles is another potential use case.

In addition to the low latency, real-time kernels are also an excellent way to keep systems secure: Critical and high-security kernel CVE patches are applied as soon as they are issued by Canonical. The image is also updated daily, so any new launches are secure immediately.

“With the listing in AWS Marketplace, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers can now structure their software-defined vehicle strategies based on reliable and secure open source solutions on the clouds,” said Edoardo Barbieri, Canonical product manager, in a statement.

Overall, Canonical provides over 40 types of server images on AWS covering key AWS services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), AWS Graviton, AWS Outposts, and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS).

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