Mark Murphy, Canonical's alliances manager, hopes the certification will offer "another layer of assurance" to enterprise customers looking to deploy Ubuntu in a more strategic role.
"This certification means HP will list Ubuntu as a supported operating system and verify the work undertaken by Canonical to ensure full certified compatibility. Both companies are fully cooperating at the engineering level to provide full underlying confidence for HP customers using these servers," Murphy said.
What figures to boost sales of both Ubuntu and HP's servers is the ongoing economic climate, where Fortune 100 companies down to mom-and-pop shops are looking to save money on any and all pieces of their infrastructure. By bundling the free operating system with HP hardware, smaller companies can sidestep the licensing fees associated with Microsoft's Windows.
"Just last week we spoke to a Chicago-based finance house that runs entirely on Ubuntu servers and runs both their open and proprietary stack on Ubuntu on Hewlett-Packard machines mostly, with some Dell in the mix. These heterogeneous environments are becoming pretty common and the range of software on them is getting wider," Murphy said.
The HP announcement is the second piece of positive news for Ubuntu relating to its corporate strategies. Earlier this month in a survey among approximately 7,000 users, the overwhelming majority said they were increasingly using the server-based operating system in a variety of mission-critical Web and database applications.
While Ubuntu may appear to be on a roll, some analysts believe the company has more work to do before it can be considered a serious contender to Red Hat and Novell.
"In terms of noise level, Ubuntu has been hot lately. But the ecosystem simply isn't as mature for Ubuntu as it is for Red Hat and SUSE Linux. They do not have the level of application support and data base support, and some other things that you need to be enterprise ready," said Al Gillen, VP in charge of system software research with IDC.
As Linux becomes easier to use and gains big-name vendor support, InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of the various distributions available. Download the report here (registration required).