open source

Eucalyptus CEO at CloudBeat: We’re a Useful Complement to Amazon

CEO of Eucalyptus Systems Marten Mickos took the stage at CloudBeat 2011 to join the discussion about the open source role in the new cloud era. Mickos started off by comparing the Eucalyptus open-source cloud software platform to an espresso machine allowing clients to make their coffee (cloud software) at home, at their own time. He used the analogy further to compare companies such as Amazon to Starbucks, and said that people need both the espresso machines and the Starbucks which is why the two (Amazon AWS and Eucalyptus cloud software) don’t compete with each other. Mickos says that Eucalyptus is a useful complement to Amazon on the on premise side.

“We manufacture the world’s best espresso machines, Mickos said. “If you want the power of the cloud on your own premises, your own servers, that’s when you come to us.”

When it comes to APIs that Eucalyptus software supports (currently Amazon’s EC2, EBS and S3), Mickos claims that his product is designed in a way that it can support any cloud API, but the company firmly believes that the Amazon APIs are the industry standard dominating the cloud world.

“We love Amazon, we think it’s a fantastic public cloud, and we support their API,” Mickos said. But if another major API emerges in the future, we will support such APi as well.”

Eucalyptus is often criticized for not being fully open source, as some major features are kept for paying customers including SAN integration and compatibility with VMware. The company also didn’t have much success in building a strong community around Eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus CEO believes that for an open source vendor it is highly important to have a strong business model and a revenue generation model in order for it to grow and challenge the large closed source players such as VMWare.

In terms of competition it the open source space, Eucalyptus competes with companies such as Nebula which “productizes the open stack.” OpenStack project is still not production ready, but once it is, it may be a strong competitor to Eucalyptus. Still, Mickos claims the two companies have different philosophies, and different focus. He says that OpenStack project, which is 100% open source, offers many technologies that can be used by anybody and is not aiming to be a consistent product on its own. “We could use OpenStack components if they become superior at what they do,” he added.

When asked to give advice to companies that are slow adopters of the cloud, Mickos said that conservative companies shouldn’t adopt the cloud yet, as the state that the cloud is in today is still for the “early movers” who recognize the strategic advantage of the cloud.

He noted that some of the early adopters of the cloud are companies who are also perceived as “old-fashioned.”

“The U.S.D.A. uses the Eucalyptus cloud to serve the farmers across the US with information critical to them, and we’ve seen many government organizations who are pioneers in cloud adoption,” Micos said.

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