Eucalyptus and AWS – Much Ado About Nothing

UPDATED:  Eucalyptus announced a $30M financing round from a great group of VCs.  That will buy them some room but if they want to get a good return on the $55.5M they’ve raised, they’re going to need to hit it out of the park.  At least they’ll be busy spending all that green.

Yes, this is a delayed post.  But hey, I’m busy.

The Eucalyptus – AWS announcement last week was really a great case of Much Ado About Nothing.  Marten Mickos is a great marketer, and the positioning in this story was almost magical.  For a while there it seemed that Amazon had truly anointed Eucalyptus as “the private cloud” for the enterprise.

Here is 100% of the content behind this story as far as I can tell:  Amazon granted Eucalyptus a license to the AWS API and might provide some technical assistance.  That’s it – there is no more.

I got the release from Amazon and managed to have a quick email Q&A with an Amazon spokesperson (below).

1.  What’s new here?  Eucalyptus has had AWS-compatible APIs since the beginning.

This agreement is about making it simple to move workloads between customers’ on-premise infrastructure running Eucalyptus and AWS—all the while being able to use common tools between the environments.  That’s what Eucalyptus and AWS are working to make easier for customers.

As part of this agreement, AWS will be working with Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases.

2. Does this mean that Eucalyptus has been granted a license to use the AWS APIs verbatim (e.g. a copyright license)?  And if so, does that other cloud stacks would not be granted a license to legally use AWS APIs?

Yes, to your first question.  Each situation is different and we’ll evaluate each one on its own merits.

3. Are Amazon and Eucalyptus collaborating on APIs going forward, or will Amazon release APIs and let Euca use them? Also, will Eucalyptus have advance visibility into API development so they can release simultaneously?

We’re not disclosing the terms of our agreement.

4. Is Amazon helping Eucalyptus develop new features to be more compatible across the AWS portfolio?  Examples might include RDS, SimpleDB, EMR, Beanstalk, etc.  Without support for the PaaS layer components then Eucalyptus is only partly compatible and the migration between internal and external cloud would be restricted

No.  This relationship is about making workloads simple to move between on premise infrastructure and AWS.

5.  Does “As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases” imply that Amazon’s Premier Support offerings will be extended to Eucalyptus so a customer can get support for both from Amazon?  Or is this more about the AWS team supporting the Eucalyptus team in their quest to maintain API parity?

AWS will be working with Eucalyptus to assure compatibility, but will not be supporting Eucalyptus customers or installations.  Support will be provided directly by Eucalyptus to their customers, just as was the case before this agreement.

6. Will Amazon resell Eucalyptus?

No.

7. Will Eucalyptus resell Amazon?

No.

8. Will Eucalyptus-based private clouds be visible/manageable through the AWS Management Console, or through CloudWatch?

The AWS management console does not support Eucalyptus installations.

9.  Is this exclusive or will Amazon be open to other similar partnerships?

It is not exclusive.

Not exclusive – that means Eucalyptus is not “the anointed one.”  No operational integration (e.g. CloudWatch, etc.) means that “common tools” in the answer to Q1 is RightScale, enStratus etc. Here’s a question I didn’t ask and, based on the answer to Q3 above, I would not expect to be answered — What did Eucalyptus commit to in order to get the license grant (which is the only news here)?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the license grant applies to Eucalyptus only when deployed in a private cloud environment. It would be my expectation that Amazon would not want to legitimize any use of their APIs by service providers against whom they would compete. It’s not in Amazon’s best interest to make the AWS API an open standard that would enable public cloud-to-cloud compatibility.  Eucalyptus only targets on-premise private clouds so that would have been an easy give.

Okay, so how much does it matter that your private cloud has the same API as Amazon?  On the margin, I suppose it’s a good thing.  But RightScale and enStratus both do a great job of encapsulating multiple cloud APIs behind their management interfaces.  Unless I’m building my own automation layer internally to manage both AWS and my private cloud, then as long as the feature sets are close enough then the API does not have to be the same.

There’s some info about the Citrix Apache CloudStack project and AWS API, but I have no information that Amazon has granted Citrix or the Apache Foundation a license.  Will update you when I learn more.

All in all, this turned out to be not that interesting.  I like Marten and have no dog in this hunt, but I don’t think that this announcement in any way improves the long-term market for Eucalyptus.  And after the Citrix CloudStack announcement today, I would say that things are looking cloudier than ever for the Eucalyptus team.

6 thoughts on “Eucalyptus and AWS – Much Ado About Nothing

  1. Hey thanks for the post, didn’t knew about the announcement!

  2. Tim Wessels says:

    As for his marketing skills, let’s not forget that Mr. Mickos did manage to sell MySQL to Sun for $1B a few years ago. u00a0The Eucalyptus marketing machine was trying to make this agreement with AWS look like some kind ofu00a0anointingu00a0of Eucalyptus as the only one chosen by AWS for this special relationship. u00a0Sounds like AWS is open to other similar relationships. u00a0I think you are right to suggest that AWS is not u00a0interested in having AWS EC2-compatible public cloud competition for their compute services. u00a0They are interested in having that hybrid cloud thing work in order to move Eucalyptus workloads to EC2. u00a0I found the Citrix announcement about moving the governance of CloudStack to the Apache Foundation much more interesting.u00a0u00a0

  3. Bill Wilder says:

    John – great set of questions you posed to Amazon to get to the core of the agreement. I had read the press release and other chatter around the announcement and had assumed Eucalyptus was indeed the anointed one… Thanks for getting to the heart of the matter.

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