Eucalyptus Will Bring Added Choice to HP's OpenStack Cloud Strategy

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 16, 2014

Late last week, news broke that Hewlett-Packard has agreed to buy cloud computing firm Eucalyptus, and HP intends to retain open source veteran Marten Mickos as a cloud computing lead. It's all part of HP chief Meg Whitman's pledge to pour $1 billion into HP's Helion cloud business.

Since the news broke, there has been a lot of discussion about exactly what HP is getting in Eucalyptus. The answer is that HP is getting a lot, because many enterprises want open source cloud infrastructure, but are also used to leveraging  Amazon-style cloud functionality.

It was all the way back in 2008 when OStatic broke the story about a cloud computing project at U.C. Santa Barbara called Eucalyptus. At the time, Rich Wolski and a team of university folks were focusing on creating a cloud computing framework that would be open source but include the feature set and feel of Amazon Web Services. Even early on, the Eucalyptus project was focused on implementing infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicated the functionality of Amazon's EC2, using the Amazon command-line tools directly. 

That duplication of functionality can make a difference for many enterprises that want the flexibility of an open source cloud platform, but have experience using Amazon's cloud tools.

HP's Helion Cloud Portfolio uses OpenStack for private and public cloud services. As Information Week notes:

"With the deal still unconsummated, Mickos said it was too soon to say how HP and Eucalyptus will manage their respective product lines. He disagreed that OpenStack had designed its APIs to be similar enough in function with Amazon's to ease the task of making them eventually interoperable. 'OpenStack APIs had similar thinking behind them [to Amazon's] but the implementation was quite different,' he said."

With Eucalyptus, HP can tune its Helion cloud line to offer users a choice of either using Amazon's interface, or not. Eucalyptus has also tuned its platform to work across an array of hypervisors, and many IT departments are deploying cloud computing platforms in conjunction with virtualization. They want to run multiple operating systems, and Eucalyptus' platform caters to that.

Eucalyptus's platform supports KVM which is an open source hypervisor owned by Red Hat, and KVM is the default hypervisor in OpenStack, which is at the center of HP's cloud strategy.

Not every aspect of what HP will do with Eucalyptus is clear, but it is likely that the Eucalyptus platform will give IT administrators added choice as they roll out hybrid clouds in conjunction with virtualization, and, in many cases, still demand Amazon-style feature functionality.