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April 26, 2018updated 27 Jul 2022 10:04am

Ubuntu’s Latest “Bionic Beaver” OS Impresses with Range of New Features

The latest OS has a raft of new AI, cloud, security features

By CBR Staff Writer

Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu)  today released the latest version of its popular operating system, code-named ‘Bionic Beaver’; big news for both organisations and users looking to be on the cutting edge of security, multi-cloud, containers and AI.

Computer Business Review took a look. So, what’s new?

Improved security

Out of the many new security updates, a particularly impressive feature is the implementation of built-in AMD secure memory encryption support. This is a great benefit for those deploying to the cloud when coupled with SEV (Secure Encrypted Virtualisation) due to a data vulnerability which occurs when plain text is stored in main memory. This well-known attack leaves data exposed to a manipulation via user access which is used to obtain this unciphered (not encrypted) data. Furthermore, this key new feature solves this issue by encrypting such data and therefore preventing the usefulness of the attack. Fundamentally, this is a huge win for cloud security.

Cutting Edge of Cloud Technology

According to David Aronchick, Product Manager at Google’s Cloud AI: “Canonical has provided both a familiar and highly performant operating system that works everywhere. Whether on-premise or in the cloud, software engineers and data scientists can use tools they are already familiar with, such as Ubuntu, Kubernetes and Kubeflow, and greatly accelerate their ability to deliver value for their customers.”

The heterogeneity of the approach by Canonical is likely to win the approval of various teams who will benefit hugely from the flexibility and freedom that this will give them. Moreover, organisations will also be able to reduce costs by removing the need to recruit specialists in a particular platform.

In addition to this, Ubuntu’s very own CloudInit package has been upgraded to version 18.2 which possesses many notable features such as:

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– VMware support for 64-bit platforms

– Azure pre-provisioning speed improvements

– New cloud support for IBMCloud and HetznerCloud

All of which further contribute to the cloud-centric approach of Bionic Beaver.

Built-in AI deployment capabilities

Closely related to the previously discussed ‘Kubeflow’ (a deployment solution for Google’s acclaimed Machine Learning framework) users of Bionic Beaver now have the luxury of this dynamic machine learning deployment tool at their fingertips.

Focussing on the importance of optimising GPU processing for the highest levels of speed for Machine Learning applications, Canonical has also integrated NVIDIA GPGPU hardware acceleration into Ubuntu 18.04 LTS cloud images, Canonical’s OpenStack and Kubernetes distributions. This major feature will allow users to run their AI algorithms with improved speed.

Where to get started!

With Bionic Beaver’s alpha version being released January this year and the final beta freeze this month, users can now download the final release today with all of these features finalised and thoroughly tested. The download centre can be accessed here.

See also: Ubuntu founder makes shock return as Canonical CEO

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