25,000 clouds

By Marten Mickos | May 03, 2011

The world is becoming a massive computational machine. Soon we will have 10 billion connected devices on this planet - phones, pads, laptops, servers, GPSs and vehicles, medical devices, meters and recorders, and so on. And then there will be more. These connected devices, which are advancing the speed and quality of our communication and access to information at an extraordinary rate, are also democratizing the use of technology - between humans and among the devices themselves! The only way to effectively handle the varied, unpredictable and massive workload resulting from this expanding connected world is with compute clouds. We must rapidly build public clouds, private (on-premise) clouds, and hybrid clouds. If we don't, we'll quickly run into a number of walls: lack of compute resources, lack of space for the computers, and lack of energy to power them.

It was with this in mind that Eucalyptus started as an advanced research project over four years ago at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Why is it called Eucalyptus? With a little bit of the scientist's humor we "discovered" that the name stands for an "Elastic Utility Computing Architecture Linking Your Programs to Useful Systems." We are proud to be among the very early pioneers of on-premise cloud platforms. Around our research, there is a large open source user community. And to serve enterprise customers, we have built a global commercial software company. Today, we serve demanding enterprises that need on-premise and hybrid clouds to support their strategic business initiatives.

Because our software is open source, anybody can download it, install it, use it, modify it and re-distribute it. In fact, we have recorded across 162 countries and independent territories the starting-up of over 25,000 Eucalyptus clouds. The list includes nearly one thousand universities and colleges. At least 21 of the Fortune 100 companies started a Eucalyptus cloud in 2010.

These high numbers seems to indicate that experimental and production clouds are being established across most types of organizations and among both small and large ones. Earlier predictions that private clouds would appeal only to the most conservative organizations, or just to large ones, seem to have been incorrect. Private clouds are of interest to anyone. And those who are using a public cloud service appear to have an even higher interest in private clouds.

The list of Eucalyptus users is as varied as the use cases for cloud infrastructure-as-a-service: Aerospace Corporation, Boeing, Cloudera, DELL, the European Space Agency, InterContinental Hotels Group, Linden Lab, Portico Systems, Puma, Siemens, Trend Micro, USASpending.gov, US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Science & Technology, Walgreens, Wetpaint.com, among others.

In our work of building out clouds for our customers, we have identified about a dozen distinct use cases for Eucalyptus. The three most common ones are:

  • scalable web services, typically of a major brand owner or large government agency
  • in-house software development and test environments, going from small organizations with 20 or so developers all the way up to corporations with thousands of them
  • big data applications and analytics

A key design principle in the early days of Eucalyptus was providing users with choice, control and freedom. Importantly, we decided to implement on top of our elastic cloud machine the same API functionality that the leading public cloud vendor uses. This has proven to be highly valuable to our users. If it runs on Amazon Web Services, it runs on Eucalyptus, and vice versa. If you learned about clouds on AWS, you also know how to use Eucalyptus. Hundreds of thousands of AWS applications are ready to run within the protection of their owner's firewall, on the Eucalyptus IaaS platform.

Another important decision was to support all major virtualization technologies. Clouds rely on virtualization that is typically implemented in the form of a hypervisor. Combine the AWS API compatibility, the hypervisor agnosticism and the open source software model, and you get an on-premise IaaS platform that fits right into your existing datacenter infrastructures while effectively preventing lock-in. If you don't like the hypervisor, you can replace it with another one. You can mix multiple hypervisors in the same cloud. If you need to move your apps, the industry standard API gives you the widest possible freedom.

The number of Eucalyptus clouds is growing by the day. Just last Saturday, 51 Eucalyptus cloud started up around the globe. Around the open source platform, we are building out a professional organization to meet the growing demands in the market. We hired a team in China in January, and as of May we will have feet on the street in India. In Europe, we already have number of customers up and running.

As we keep advancing the frontiers of cloud computing, come join us in this important shift in IT! It's a privilege to be working with some of the most demanding users, customers and partners in the cloud computing space. If you are interested, you are warmly welcome to join our community. Find us at www.eucalyptus.com and feel free to email me directly.

Mårten Mickos
CEO, Eucalyptus Systems

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