Eucalyptus Goes Commercial with $5.5M Funding Round

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It’s beginning to look like you just can’t keep a good cloud down. The makers of the open-source cloud computing platform Eucalyptus today said they have raised $5.5 million in Series A funding, and they announced the launch of Eucalyptus Systems Inc. The new company will keep its basic cloud-building software entirely open source, but will supplement it with enterprise-class features support. Its first commercial release is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

Eucalyptus offers some of the same benefits as public clouds to its private cloud customers by pooling existing data center resources and letting users self-provision instances on demand without going through the IT department. It uses an Amazon Web Services-compatible API by default but also works with other APIs, like GoGrid, and supports the Google App Engine API via support for the open-source AppScale project. Customers don’t get locked into Eucalyptus, because APIs can be mixed and matched, and apps can be ported seamlessly to their respective public platforms. And, because “the baseline functionality is yours right down to the source code,” Co-Founder and CTO Rich Wolski says customers who wish to are free to make their own fixes if Eucalyptus breaks (of course, they also can call Eucalyptus for support). Read more about the details here.

One potential issue for Eucalyptus is that its product currently does not offer functionalities like automatic scaling and live migration, features often associated with internal cloud offerings. Although Eucalyptus does have its own scheduler, Wolski said, “We’re really trying to stick with the functionality that we’ve seen in successful public clouds.” Amazon, he notes, does not inherently include what Wolski calls “data center virtualization” features. The problem is that — regardless of nuanced distinctions between true cloud computing and advanced virtualization offerings — many view cloud computing as a way to eliminate the complexities involved with writing dynamic capabilities like auto-scaling into their applications.

However, among Eucalyptus’ 14,000-plus users are corporate customers across different sectors, with which the company will be engaging in the months to come. Wolski said these customer engagements will help Eucalyptus understand how its product roadmap should unfold, and it now has $5.5 million to put toward development. Although the basic Eucalyptus offering is unique among commercial vendors (Globus Nimbus is a similar research project), offering advanced functionalities will help ensure success.

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