While the most reported news about the next version of Ubuntu, version 11.04 aka Natty Narwhal, is the brand new Unity interface, there's bigger news for cloud technologists. Natty Narwhal will include OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform created by NASA and Rackspace last year. Canonical joined OpenStack in February.

OpenStack will compliment Eucalyptus, the open core cloud computing system. "We want people to think of Ubunutu as a Linux platform that is cloud native," Canonical VP of Business Development told InternetNews.com.

NASA started what eventually became OpenStack to in order to replace Eucalypsis, The Register reported last year. Since that time, Eucalyptus has partnered with Red Hat and has been working to make its platform more open.

George also told InternetNews.com that while Ubuntu will support two cloud standards for now, it will eventually "bless" only one - much like it has "blessed" the KVM hypervisor instead of Xen.

Although OpenStack has met with much enthusiasm from the open source community, some crack are starting to show in its governance model as we've reported. Still, it's a young project with strong technology and serious backing.

But Eucalyptus is a formidable opponent in the cloud stack standard race, especially with its Red Hat partnership.

OpenStack is only a technology preview at the moment. But this week's Amazon Web Services outage emphasizes the need for open cloud standards so that servers can be moved easily from cloud to cloud. The clock is ticking.