Eucalyptus CEO brings the cloud down to earth

Marten Mickos explains Eucalyptus' partnership with Amazon, what he thinks of OpenStack, and what customers are doing with the Eucalyptus private cloud platform

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Knorr: How else do you think it differs?

Mickos: The other difference is that OpenStack is essentially an industry consortium. It is driven by and operated by big vendors in this space. Some small vendors, but mostly big vendors. That wasn't the case with Linux, not until 10 years into the project when the product already was stable. That's why I don't think it is the right comparison. I told them: Why do you say Linux of cloud? Shouldn't you say Unix of cloud?

Knorr: Let's go back to Eucalyptus -- talk a little about your long-term road map. You said there were two parts to your Amazon partnership. We never got to the second, long-term part.

Mickos: Part two will be joint go-to-market activities where we will go out and approach and talk to customers together and address their needs together. However, each party sells its own stuff, so we're not resellers for each other. But we do engage in joint customer discussions where we make sure customers get what they need. Whatever they need on-premise they get from us; whatever they need on the public cloud they get from Amazon.

Knorr: I hear that Amazon has an enterprise sales force these days.

Mickos: They do and they are very active in developing services that enterprises will need. They have a very compelling offering even for conservative enterprise buyers. That's what's interesting here. We are not trying to specifically influence whether people run workloads in the cloud or on-premise. We're just trying to be available whenever they have something they want to run on-premise.

Knorr: What are your customers doing on Eucalyptus now? What sorts of workloads? What leads them to decide to bring those in house versus running them on Amazon?

Mickos: We have two main use cases. The first one is a scalable Web service. Take Puma with their consumer-facing websites or the USDA or Riot Entertainment and other gaming companies.

The other one is a dev and test environment for internal software development. Broadly these two use cases also align with our two types of customers.

The scalable Web service is typically with customers who have past experience from the public cloud, and they know the paradigm there. They love cloud, and they just need to run something on-premise. And the dev and test customers typically are corporations with data centers that they have virtualized, who are now ready to take the step into cloud -- and the first use case they go into is dev and test.

There are a number of reasons people go on-premise, and like I said, we try not to try to outsmart their reasons. Here are some: In an on-premise environment they get more control over configuration and how it operates. They can choose the hardware, they can performance-tune it to what they need.

Some have existing hardware, so they just want to make good use of it. Some do it for P&L reasons: They want the flexibility to choose between rent and buy at any given time, so they move back and forth. Some do it for compliance or security reasons: They have data that they do not want in a public cloud. Some do it for sort of disaster recovery and resilience reasons: They know that if they have both Amazon cloud and an on-prem Eucalyptus cloud, if something bad happens to one of them, the other one can step in and take over the workload. Those are the main reasons.

This article, "Eucalyptus CEO brings the cloud down to earth," originally appeared at Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog. And for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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