HP Reconfigures Responsibilities Of Marten Mickos In Cloud Reorg

Roughly six months after HP acquired Eucalyptus in September 2014 and vaulted Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos to the position of SVP and General Manager of the HP Cloud, Mickos will be assuming a new role. Mickos’s new position will involve “customer engagement” and “the different communities required to accelerate HP’s progress” as reported in The Register. In his new role, Mickos will tap into his deep knowledge of the technology landscape to help identify technology companies that can support HP’s larger cloud aspirations and vision. Meanwhile, Bill Hilf will take responsibility for product strategy and management, Kerry Bailey will lead sales and Mark Interrante will take over Helion cloud engineering. Mickos’s position at HP was always in question given that Eucalyptus provided open source software for private clouds that are interoperable with Amazon Web Services. HP’s Helion, on the other hand, is based on the open source IaaS technology platform OpenStack, which stands in direct confrontation with proprietary IaaS platforms such as Amazon Web Services.

Mickos’s new role at HP represents a mystifying shuffle given that his pedigree for commercializing open source software is virtually unparalleled in the industry as evinced by his success with MySQL and Eucalyptus. Even though HP Helion does not support Amazon Web Services in the way that Eucalyptus did, for example, it leverages open source technology at its core in the form of OpenStack and as such, one could reasonably assume that Mickos would be the personality to lead Helion to IaaS prominence. All this suggests that HP is in dire need of defining its cloud strategy with respect to Helion and how it plans to differentiate itself in the commercial OpenStack space. There is also the question of how HP plans to integrate Eucalyptus into its product portfolio and benefit from the acquisition, particularly given the lesser degree of responsibility now assigned to former Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos.


Amazon Web Services Goes After Private Cloud Market By Supporting Eucalyptus AWS API

This week, Amazon Web Services inked a deal with Eucalyptus Systems of Santa Barbara, California whereby customers can migrate data between their data centers and the Amazon Web Services platform by using Eucalyptus APIs that are compatible with Amazon Web Services products such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Although Eucalyptus APIs have always been compatible with the Amazon EC2 platform, the March 22 announcement by the two companies means that AWS has officially committed to professionally supporting compatibility between the Eucalyptus AWS API and its own suite of products and services. The press release underscored Amazon Web Services’s professional commitment to Eucalyptus Systems as follows:

As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases. Customers can run applications in their existing datacenters that are compatible with popular Amazon Web Services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

The agreement means that Amazon Web Services, which has been dismissive of the private cloud for years, is officially embracing private clouds such as those within enterprise data centers. Eucalytpus Systems represented precisely the partner Amazon Web Services was seeking to gain greater penetration in the enterprise private cloud market. Amazon Web Services’s Terry Wise, Director of Amazon Web Services Partner Ecosystem, commented on the synergies between the two companies by noting:

“We’re pleased to provide customers with the added flexibility to more freely move workloads between their existing IT environments and the AWS cloud. Enterprises can now take advantage of a common set of APIs that work with both AWS and Eucalyptus, enabling the use of scripts and other management tools across both platforms without the need to rewrite or maintain environment-specific versions. Additionally, customers can leverage their existing skills and knowledge of the AWS platform by using the same, familiar AWS SDKs and command line tools in their existing data centers.”

As Wise remarks, one of salient benefits of the agreement is the ability for enterprise customers to take advantage of “scripts and other management tools across both platforms” that absolve IT staff of the need to train themselves on cloud management in two different ecosystems. On one hand, customers familiar with AWS can use “AWS SDKs and command line tools in their existing data centers” while leveraging “a common set of APIs that work with both AWS and Eucalyptus.”

Financial details about the partnership between Eucalyptus and Amazon Web Services have not been made public, but rest assured that the agreement represents a huge coup for both parties. Eucalyptus, on one hand, stands to gain traction in the wake of the proliferation of enterprise-grade OpenStack deployments and the huge upsurge of momentum and commercial interest in OpenStack more generally. Amazon Web Services, meanwhile, finds in Eucalyptus a viable partner that can take it directly to enterprise deployments and gain more traction in the market for ancillary cloud services related to enterprise private clouds such as backup, storage and disaster recovery. Enterprise Eucalyptus customers that were once leery of signing up with Amazon Web Services will now find little reason not to experiment with the Seattle-based cloud giant.

Precisely when OpenStack’s fortunes seemed virtually meteoric (no pun intended), Amazon Web Services responded with an astute strategic play designed to consolidate its stranglehold on IaaS cloud computing market share. The agreement furthers the dominance of the Amazon Web Services API as the standard for cloud APIs and thereby jeopardizes OpenStack’s claim to fame as the inter-operable platform of choice for cloud deployments. Last September, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote in a blog post that “the hackers and funders and leaders and advocates of OpenStack, and any number of other cloud infrastructure projects both open source and proprietary, would be better off figuring out how to leverage [the AWS API’s] standardisation than trying to compete with it, simply because no other API is likely to gain the sort of ecosystem we see around AWS today.” Amazon Web Services’s agreement with Eucalyptus just boosted the AWS API even further. The only question now is how OpenStack and Rackspace and the open source cloud computing community more generally will respond to the AWS-Eucalyptus alliance.