On Thursday, Mesosphere announced the finalization of $73.5M in Series C funding led by strategic investor Hewlett Packard Enterprise with additional participation from Microsoft, a new strategic investor, in conjunction with previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Fuel Capital, Khosla Ventures, and new investors A Capital and Triangle Peak Partners. Mesosphere’s Data Center Operating System (DCOS) helps companies manage hyper-scale data centers as if they were one unit in addition to facilitating the operationalization of distributed applications, containers, micro-services and Big Data within cloud-based and on-premise environments. The San Francisco-based startup boasts customers such as Microsoft, HP, Yelp and eBay and currently staffs approximately 125 employees. The funding raise will be used to enhance its engineering operations in addition to expanding its sales and support teams. Microsoft and HPE remain likely acquirers of Mesosphere, particularly given Mesosphere’s collaboration with Microsoft on the Azure Container Service and Mesosphere’s partnership with HPE to leverage HPE hardware. The biggest news from today’s funding announcement is Microsoft’s participation as a new strategic investor, which corroborates reports that Microsoft attempted to purchase Mesosphere last year for approximately $150M. The $73.5M in Series C funding round brings the total capital raised by Mesosphere to $126M. In addition to the funding raise, Mesosphere today announced the release of Marathon 1.0, an enterprise-grade orchestration platform and a new product, Velocity, a continuous improvement and continuous development tool for its DCOS that uses the open source Jenkins framework.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently announced the general availability of Haven OnDemand, a cloud-based machine learning platform capable of performing deep learning analytics on a variety of media including text, audio, image, social, web and video. The ability of Haven OnDemand to perform advanced analytics on structured and unstructured data, in conjunction with its machine learning capabilities, empowers developers to build recommendation engines, create facial recognition applications, detect fraud and build predictive models to forecast the behavior of natural and socio-cultural phenomena. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, the HPE Haven OnDemand boasts 12,750 registered developers and offers 60 APIs and services per the agreement signed between Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in December 2015. Importantly, the commercial availability of HPE Haven OnDemand on the Azure platform illustrates the ascendancy of Azure as a computing platform for the enterprise. HPE Haven OnDemand aims to democratize access to machine learning analytics by giving developers access to many of the algorithms and tools used by data scientists to build predictive models across structured and unstructured data. That Azure hosts HPE Haven OnDemand gives developers the added boon of the performance and scalability of the Azure platform, thereby allowing users of the platform to focus on building and iteratively refining analytics in contrast to managing the infrastructure required for their execution.
Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have partnered to facilitate hybrid cloud computing within the enterprise by means of hardware provided by HPE that enables enterprises to deploy and manage Azure-based private clouds. The cornerstone of the collaboration between Microsoft and HPE features the HPE Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard appliance, a hyper-converged infrastructure that empowers customers to deploy Windows and Linux-based workloads onto the Azure cloud. The appliance also features an integrated management console that provides insight into the performance of their Azure deployment. HPE will provide assistance with support for hardware and software to accelerate deployment cycles and ensure customers can expeditiously deploy and manage an Azure-based private cloud based on infrastructure within their data centers alongside their public cloud-based Azure deployments. The partnership designates Azure as HP’s preferred public cloud partners whereas correspondingly, Azure designates HP its preferred infrastructure partner for hybrid clouds. The collaboration between HPE and Microsoft underscores the acumen behind Microsoft’s strategic vision for bringing Azure to the enterprise and leveraging its long-standing relationships with enterprise customers to take command of the leadership position in the critical arena of hybrid cloud deployment and management.
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.
On Tuesday, HP announced details of HP Haven Predictive Analytics, a platform that delivers machine learning and statistical analysis for large-scale datasets. HP Haven Predictive Analytics features distributed R, an analytics platform based on the R programming language designed to tackle the most complex Big Data predictive analytics tasks in the industry. Moreover, the HP Haven Predictive Analytics platform boasts support for SQL and HP Vertica in addition to preconfigured algorithms that allow developers to leverage out of the box, R-based analytics. The hallmark of the offering, however, consists of the distributed R analytical engine that leverages parallel R processing to allow the power of R’s predictive analytics to tackle big data sets. The conjunction of the platform’s data acceleration functionality with its distributed use of the open source R programming language stands to improve analytic performance on large datasets and enable statisticians to derive actionable business intelligence from petabytes of data with speed and analytic sophistication. As such, HP Haven Predictive Analytics augments the analytic power of the SQL on Hadoop Vertica platform by delivering a Big Data predictive analytics platform capable of analyzing structured and unstructured data via the cloud or an on premise deployment.
HP announced plans to acquire Eucalyptus, the company whose open source private cloud software interoperates with Amazon Web Services, on Thursday, September 11. Under the terms of the agreement, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos will lead HP’s cloud business as Senior Vice President and General Manager and report directly to Meg Whitman, HP’s President and CEO. Mickos, a longtime critic of the OpenStack project, has recently adopted a more conciliatory approach with respect to OpenStack in what was, in hindsight, rhetorical positioning for his role at HP as leader of the OpenStack-based HP Helion cloud product portfolio. Despite his historical criticism of OpenStack, Mickos has an enviable pedigree for commercializing open source software as the prior CEO of MySQL, now one of the most widely used open source software products in the world. HP CEO Meg Whitman elaborated on Mickos’s pedigree for the position as follows:
The addition of Marten to HP’s world-class Cloud leadership team will strengthen and accelerate the strategy we’ve had in place for more than three years, which is to help businesses build, consume and manage open source hybrid clouds. Marten will enhance HP’s outstanding bench of Cloud executives and expand HP Helion capabilities, giving customers more choice and greater control of private and hybrid cloud solutions.
As Whitman notes, HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus strengthens its position with respect to hybrid cloud solutions for the enterprise, particularly given the success had by Eucalyptus in interoperating its private clouds with the Amazon Web Services public cloud. Moreover, the experience of Mickos in successfully commercializing open source software suddenly vaults HP’s chances of succeeding in the commercial OpenStack space to the level of Red Hat, IBM and Piston Cloud Computing, whereas previously its Helion cloud portfolio evinced little in the way of a promising commercialization strategy or roadmap. Even though details of the integration of Eucalyptus with HP remain scant, the one certainty that results from HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus is that the market dynamics within the commercial OpenStack space have now shifted dramatically, almost as if overnight. The rest remains to be seen as Mickos has his work cut out for him if he is indeed going to rescue HP from the abyss of empty OpenStack rhetoric to a promising, full fledged product that can compete with the likes of Piston, who have already demonstrated success in mitigating the complexities specific to OpenStack deployment and operations by way of their Piston OpenStack platform. As a result of the acquisition, Martin Fink, the current leader of HP’s cloud business will continue as CTO. Terms of the purchase of Eucalyptus were not disclosed although sources close to the deal speculate that the acquisition price was less than $100M for its technology and 70 or so employees. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of HP’s 2014 fiscal year.
HP today announced its intent to invest $1B in cloud products and services over the next two years. In addition, HP introduced Helion, a portfolio of cloud products that include existing and new OpenStack-based cloud offerings, other HP cloud products and professional services. Importantly, HP plans to focus Helion on hybrid cloud environments and the technologies needed to support their deployment and ongoing management as noted by Martin Fink, HP’s Executive Vice President and CTO:
Customer challenges today extend beyond cloud. They include how to manage, control and scale applications in a hybrid environment that spans multiple technology approaches. HP Helion provides the solutions and expertise customers need to select the right deployment model for their needs and obtain the greatest return for their investment.
While HP’s focus on hybrid clouds and the professional services required for their successful implementation differentiates itself from public cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, the company has done little to embellish the functionality of its core, OpenStack-based public cloud platform in ways that render it competitive in recent months. Meanwhile, the decision to unveil new OpenStack-based products appears to be a marketing strategy directed at the upcoming OpenStack Summit and its concomitant slew of attendees and PR. The bottom line here is that HP’s attention to the technologies required to successfully manage hybrid cloud environments is refreshingly original but needs to be complemented by more substantive elaboration on its own product enhancements and the roadmap for its OpenStack-based cloud platform.