HP Acquires Eucalyptus And Names Marten Mickos Leader Of Its Cloud Business

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.

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Neo4j Adopted By Retail Giants eBay and Walmart For Real-Time, E-commerce Analytics

Neo Technology recently announced that retail giants such as eBay and Walmart are using graph database Neo4j in production-grade applications that improve their operations and marketing analytics. In a recently published case study, Neo Technology revealed how eBay’s e-commerce technology platform acquisition, Shutl, leverages Neo4j to expedite delivery to the point where customers can enjoy same day delivery in select cases. Shutl constitutes the technology platform that undergirds eBay Now, a service that delivers products in 1-2 hours from local stores by means of relationships between couriers and stores. eBay decided to make the transition from MySQL to Neo4j because:

Its previous MySQL solution was too slow and complex to maintain, and the queries used to calculate the best route additionally took too long. The eBay development team knew that a graph database could be added to the existing SOA and services structure to solve the performance and scalability challenges. The team turned to Neo4j as the best possible solution on the market.

According to Volker Pacher, Senior Developer at eBay, eBay found that Neo4j enabled dramatic improvements in its computational and querying ability:

We found Neo4j to be literally thousands of times faster than our prior MySQL solution, with queries that require 10-100 times less code. Today, Neo4j provides eBay with functionality that was previously impossible.

eBay’s current ecommerce technology platform leverages Ruby, Sinatra, MongoDB, and Neo4j. Importantly, queries “remain localized to their respective portions on the graph” in order to ensure scalability and performance. Walmart, meanwhile, uses Neo4j to understand the online habits of its shoppers in order to deliver more relevant real-time product recommendations for their online shoppers. Neo4j’s adoption by eBay and Walmart symptomatically illustrates how graph databases are disrupting the nature of real-time analytics, a trend further underscored by Pivotal HD 2.0’s integration of GraphLab into its offerings, and the use of graphing technologies by startups such as Aorato.

Red Hat Releases Fedora 19 With MariaDB As Default DBMS Over MySQL

On Tuesday, Red Hat announced the general availability of Fedora 19, its Linux operating system codenamed Schrodinger’s Cat. Fedora 19 packages a variety of open source technologies that have been integrated into its Linux distribution and are subsequently available for download and modification. Because Fedora represents the testing platform for Red Hat’s flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution, the distribution’s evolution is watched closely since it provides insight about the future of RHEL, one of the most widely used enterprise-grade distributions of Linux.

For development purposes, Fedora 19 features functionality such as 3D printing capabilities through support for OpenSCAD, Skeinforge, SFACT, Printrun and RepetierHost. In addition, this release includes Developer’s Assistant, a tool designed to assist developers code using pre-built templates and samples. Other notable additions include Node.js, a Javascript language used specifically for scalable network applications or applications that run across distributed devices, as well as Ruby 2.0.0. OpenShift Origin, Red Hat’s OpenStack-based Platform as a Service infrastructure, represents another important component of Fedora 19. Finally, MariaDB is now the default version of MySQL in Fedora.

With respect to ongoing deployment, monitoring and management functionality, Fedora 19 contains OpenStack Grizzly, the latest version of the popular open source IaaS collaboration of which Red Hat is a Platinum Board Member and vigorous contributor of code. This release also includes virtual storage migration that empowers users to move virtual machines without requiring shared storage between host machines. Finally, Fedora 19 boasts “Systemd Resource Control” and “Checkpoint & Restore” functionality to dynamically update service settings and baseline and restore processes and system parameters.

Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Project Leader, noted that agility was the defining attribute of Fedora 19 as follows:

In this release, the Fedora Project community has absolutely demonstrated that agility matters. From high-level features for enabling cloud and virtualization infrastructure, all the way down to process-level and virtual-machine level portability, combined with the newest developer toolchains, Fedora 19 contains cutting-edge technologies that enable scalability, resilience, and flexibility that are vital in a technology world increasingly focused on rapid delivery of solutions, services, and information.

Here, Bergeron touches upon the release’s compatibility with “cloud and virtualization infrastructure” as evinced by OpenStack Grizzly and OpenShift PaaS as well as the “flexibility” inherent to its developer tools and improved everyday experience by means of CUPS enhancements that enable faster printing, federated Voice-over-IP (VoIP) that allows users to make calls using a user@domain address, in addition to desktop choices such as GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.10 and the MATE 1.6 desktop environment.

The most significant innovation of Fedora 19, however, concerns its use of MariaDB as opposed to Oracle’s MySQL out of concern that MySQL lacked sufficient transparency and openness. Jaroslav Reznik, Fedora’s Project Manager, elaborated on Fedora concerns about MySQL’s transparency in January of this year as follows:

The original company behind MySQL, MySQL AB, were bought out by Sun which was then bought by Oracle. Recent changes made by Oracle indicate they are moving the MySQL project to be more closed. They are no longer publishing any useful information about security issues (CVEs), and they are not providing complete regression tests any more, and a very large fraction of the mysql bug database is now not public.

MariaDB, which was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community. We have found them to be much easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters.

MariaDB is a MySQL fork whose development was led by the original developers of MySQL over concerns about the stewardship of MySQL by Oracle. MariaDB is intended as a “drop-in” replacement of MySQL and supports MySQL’s open source storage engines and additional storage engines and features as well. Returning to Fedora 19, future versions of Fedora may not even feature MySQL alongside MariaDB as noted by Jaroslav Reznik:

MySQL will continue to be available for at least one release, but MariaDB will become the default. Also, we do not intend to support concurrent installation of both packages on the same machine; pick one or the other.

MySQL may well be gone from Fedora 20 or Fedora 21, but the more interesting question concerns whether RHEL 7.0 will be released with MariaDB as its default database management system (DBMS). In an interview with ZDNet, Senior Director of Product Marketing for RHEL Mark Coggin refused to confirm that RHEL 7.0 would be shipped with MariaDB as its default DBMS, although he did specify that Red Hat Software Collections 1.0, which has been offered in Beta to RHEL 6 customers, contains MariaDB version 5.5, MySQL version 5.5, and PostgreSQL version 9.2. Red Hat intends to offer the languages featured in Red Hat Software Collections 1.0 in RHEL 7.0, although the question of the default DBMS remains. If Red Hat does decide to ultimately dispense with MySQL, however, it will be significant news for Oracle, which has thus far been used to being involved in the powering of LAMP technology stacks, especially as the meaning of “LAMP” undergoes redefinition.