Eucalyptus Empowers the New World of Software

By Marten Mickos | November 24, 2013

Eucalyptus is an open source private cloud software platform that delivers AWS-compatibility, agility and affordability. We empower innovators, allowing you to develop and deploy software on your own servers as you do it on public clouds. We believe in a hybrid future, and therefore we enable application workload mobility between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and your own compute environment.

We have chosen a sharp and specific strategy in the world of infrastructure software. The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. This blog outlines our strategic choices.

Customers love clouds that work

In the past year we have seen the fruits of the strategy we chose several years ago. The Eucalyptus customer experience is at the absolute top in our marketplace. We have a global Customer Success team that works closely with our customers on bringing them to production deployment faster than any other vendor. We have a product that once configured is easy and straightforward to operate. We are clear about our product roadmap, and as we set it, we listen attentively to our key customers. And given that Eucalyptus is open source software delivered as a tested and packaged product, lock-in is minimized.

We are proud to note a very high degree of satisfaction among Eucalyptus users. To quote Carl Sverre of MemSQL: "I love Eucalyptus. It just works!".

When you the Eucalyptus user are more agile in software development and more efficient in software deployment, we are doing our job right. You are the innovator, and we are giving you a platform for your innovation.

Agility is the key to the new era of software

Most people know Eucalyptus as the AWS-compatible open source cloud platform. The thinking behind our strategy is broader than that. It starts from two observations:

  1. The world is becoming programmable. Software is increasingly at the heart of everything we humans produce and use. There is more and more software, and it evolves faster.
  2. Within the world of software, we are seeing a shift to the era of the cloud. This is not just about running application workloads on compute clouds operated by others. It is also a new thinking around software development and deployment. It’s about modularization, API usage, agile methodologies, rapid experimentation, continuous delivery, and much more.

Everything runs on software. Software is running everywhere. Software development and deployment is a continuous and rapid process.

To enable this new software-driven world, we need on-premises environments that behave exactly like the public clouds. Those who produce software need a reliable set of APis that link their programs to useful systems: the compute power of public clouds and company-specific servers and server farms.

That's what Eucalyptus is doing. We enable you to run your application workloads "on your credit cards or on your own servers", at your choice.

The meaning of Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The massive shift to cloud designs and technologies that we are now experiencing is not unlike the shift to the client/server paradigm that started 30 years ago. Back then, Microsoft became the absolute winner. Many old vendors dismissed Microsoft, and some tried to build and maintain their own competing environments (most notably IBM OS/2 and Apple). But the forces of change were too strong. Microsoft became the most profitable and most valuable software company in history. (It would take 15+ years and the advent of Linux to mount a significant competitive response to Microsoft.)

Today, AWS is playing the role that Microsoft played in the 80s and 90s. Just as Windows became the dominant platform for new applications, AWS is now becoming the dominant platform for new applications. AWS is already an order of magnitude larger than its nearest competitor, and by all accounts it is growing faster than any of its competitors.

Today, the most innovative acts of software development and deployment are happening on AWS. Consider companies like Netflix, Yelp, Acquia and Dropbox. The future is being shaped by AWS. Note that we are not saying that Amazon will capture all of this business (although they certainly will capture a very big portion of it). We are saying that the ecosystem around AWS will be the go-to place for nearly all new software innovation.

It is for this reason that Eucalyptus chose to be compatible with AWS. We implement the same services using the same APIs and with the same underlying behavior. We make sure that what runs on AWS also runs on Eucalyptus. ChaosMonkey from Netflix is a great example. And we make sure that what runs on Eucalyptus also runs on AWS. AppDynamics is a great example; they test their software on Eucalyptus in order to run it on AWS.

Enterprises will increasingly look to couple the usage of the public cloud (AWS) with a similar internal private cloud. This makes migrations easier and is the foundation of hybrid cloud deployments.

As for public clouds – is it only AWS? Somewhat jokingly, we have said that we have Coke covered, and we are now looking for Pepsi. What we mean by that is that we now have a tight compatibility with AWS. We are looking around in the industry to find the vendor that ultimately will become a worthy competitor to AWS. We will then support the API of such vendor, too. Industry pundits are generally nominating Microsoft and Google for this position. Perhaps it could also be VMware. Time will tell, and we are prepared. When the Pepsi emerges, we will start working on compatibility with them.

Affordability is a winning feature

Because we believe in a world with an exponential growth in software usage, we must also commit to keeping costs down. Many Eucalyptus customers are seeing their compute workloads multiply year over year. We must make sure that they can keep reaping the benefits of software without having to increase their IT budgets drastically.

For that reason, we have a strategic commitment to affordability. But how do you make a software product affordable? Here is our recipe:

  • Employ an open source development and governance model. This reduces your own cost of experimentation and testing. It leads to higher quality software sooner, with fewer vulnerabilities. And it allows users to help themselves to the software without having to buy anything from the vendor, or even talk to them. Everything is open, quick and easy.
  • Test your software rigorously before you release it to the world. This reduces the cost of error resolution for users and customers.
  • Design the product to be easy to use and operate. Build a coherent and consistent product. Automate as much of the operation of the product as you can. Provide accurate and useful documentation. In this way, the learning curve for users is easier, and the on-going operation and maintenance is easier. As an example, in Eucalyptus 3.4 we introduced (as the first cloud platform in the industry) warm upgrades which allow you to upgrade your Eucalyptus installation without stopping the application workloads that run on your private cloud.
  • Do everything possible to shorten the cycle from testing of your software to production deployment. We are proud to note that some of our users have gone live over a weekend with no assistance.

As a result, Eucalyptus comes out in competitive comparisons as a winner in TCO. We run on top of affordable and free open source software. Eucalyptus itself is open source software. The operation of it is efficient and highly automated. No wonder that telecom equipment giant NSN is saving huge amounts of money by running their internal development and test on a massive Eucalyptus cloud.

What Eucalyptus has chosen not to do

Every successful strategy or product roadmap is an act of restraint – an act of focusing on something and leaving out the rest. Here are areas we have chosen not to focus on:

  • We are not a platform for public clouds. We believe the design requirements for a public cloud are vastly different from those of hosted, managed and private clouds.
  • We are not promoting a new API standard. We believe the standard has been set. It is AWS.
  • We are not a platform for old workloads to migrate to. There is a massive business opportunity around legacy workloads. But it's not for us. We are focused on the future. We are empowering the innovators of the future.
  • We are not a virtualization management platform. Virtualization management is a large and lucrative market. But we don't see it as a step to the future. We see it as a remnant of the past. We are not integrating with every piece of hardware. We believe hardware is being commoditized, disrupted and re-created in these years. We choose to integrate with the most commonly used compute, storage and networking platforms. And as new and innovative hardware solutions emerge, we will support them. Our motto is to focus on the commoditized hardware platforms of today and the innovative platforms of tomorrow.
  • We are not yet trying to cater to every possible product demand from IT organizations of large enterprises. Over time we will do so. Right now we are focused on fast-moving organizations who are pioneers of the new. That's where innovation happens, and that's where the growth is. Over the next few years, as this industry matures and enterprise customers are fully ready to embrace private cloud, we will be ready with the feature set that they wish to see in a private cloud platform.

Open source innovation to the benefit of all

In the category of private cloud platforms, there are no less than four strong open source projects. They are OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula and Eucalyptus.

As the various projects within OpenStack and other projects mature, Eucalyptus will integrate with them in order to provide users with choice and access to all kinds of open source technology. We will also enable workload migration between OpenStack and Eucalyptus. This will allow OpenStack users to gain access to an AWS-compatible private cloud. And it will allow Eucalyptus users more avenues for hybrid deployments.

The first example of this is our Object Storage Gateway (OSG), introduced as a tech preview in release 3.4. With this gateway we can link a Eucalyptus cloud to a third-party object store. We started with the superbly scalable RiakCS from Basho Technologies. Over time, we will also support Ceph, Swift and AWS S3. This all comes in addition to our own built-in object store, called Walrus.

In summary, among the open source cloud platforms, Eucalyptus is the only one that is AWS compatible. It's also the one that is easiest to install, configure and operate. Thirdly, we stand out from OpenStack and CloudStack in that we maintain full stewardship of the product roadmap. When key customers request new features, we can commit to implementing them on a given timetable and for a given release. Our product roadmap decisions are not subject to voting or compromising with other vendors or groups.

Target market

Eucalyptus targets organizations for whom software development and deployment is an everyday strategic activity. Most of them are fast-moving software, SaaS, tech, media and telecom companies. But many are not. They may be fashion companies, financial institutions, research labs, government agencies, and so on.

What our users have in common is a determination to use the latest in the software world to reach their goals and win in their markets. Some of them have a history of datacenters of their own; some grew up on the public cloud. All of them see the value of a hybrid environment. They know that maintaining the choice of renting versus owning is what gives them strategic flexibility and best use of their money.

Customers who move very slowly or who believe that a private cloud platform should integrate tightly with the old world are not our target customers. Companies who want to extensively customize their own cloud platform are not our target customers. Organizations who are looking to employ large groups of IT staff in building and maintaining a private cloud are not our target customers.

A triple-A rated cloud platform

Eucalyptus delivers

  • Agility,
  • AWS-compatibility, and
  • Affordability.

That's our AAA rating and our commitment to you. If agility is reality for you (and not just a buzzword); if AWS-compatibility is important to you; and if affordability is a key priority – then there is no better choice for cloud platform than Eucalyptus.

Whether you run your cloud in a self-contained backpack, as a 35-node practically unattended dev & test cloud or as a 100,000 core enterprise-wide enabler of agility and R&D efficiency, Eucalyptus is there for you.

We skate to where the puck is going to be, not letting ourselves get stuck in the past. We empower you as an innovator. We enable you to be a leading player in the new relentlessly evolving software-dominated world.

As the world moves more to the cloud, as AWS continues to grow in the public cloud space, as hybrid cloud is becoming more of a reality, as agile software models are spreading in the world – the market for the Eucalyptus cloud platform continues to expand.

In short, Eucalyptus provides the software innovators of the new world AWS-compatibility, agility and affordability.

Would you like to give Eucalyptus a try? I welcome you to contact me by email. You can also go to our website to start a Eucalyptus trial right away.

Mårten Mickos
CEO, Eucalyptus Systems

P.S. If you'd like to read more about the topics we covered above, here is a list of useful links:

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