Puma.com Runs on Eucalyptus Cloud; Is There a Lesson Here?

It looks like Eucalyptus’s enterprise proofs of concept are starting to pay off with customer wins; Tuesday morning, it’s athletic apparel brand Puma coming out as a customer, running Puma.com and related sites on a Eucalyptus-powered infrastructure. I noted yesterday that actual adoption of private cloud computing for production applications is still relatively low outside the service provider community, so Puma’s decision to come out as a cloud user is kind of refreshing. That it’s running a web site on Eucalyptus infrastructure might also help suggest what the first round of private-cloud-hosted applications will be.

Eucalyptus, has been the subject of some skeptical press since its semi-public split with former flagship customer NASA and the advent of OpenStack, but perhaps reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated. CEO Marten Mickos has exuded nothing but confidence in the company’s business model, pointing to large numbers of free downloads that could translate into paying customers, and the past few months validate his stance. While most private-cloud vendors make news with funding and new features, Eucalyptus has done so with two well-known customers: first, hotelier InterContinental Hotels Group and, now, Puma. Other private-cloud startups might have Amazon Web Services in their DNA (s amzn), but Eucalyptus’s head start in installations and customer engagement might now be starting to pay off.

That Puma is using its cloud infrastructure for web sites also is telling. Using its existing infrastructure, Puma says it can handle traffic spikes for its primary website, as well easily provision new resources for “mini-sites.” With a few notable exceptions, public-cloud adoption appears to be largely centered on web hosting, so why should private cloud adoption be any different? If the underlying value propositions of flexibility and on-demand provisioning for users remain the same, it seems only natural that private cloud adoptees — whose primary contention with public clouds appears to be data security and not the delivery model — will follow the same path. Even with the added security of having cloud infrastructure in-house, moving legacy mission-critical applications to a new platform is no easy, nor necessarily desirable, task at this point.  Another publicly-named Eucalyptus customer, the U.S. government, runs USAspending.gov on a Eucalyptus-based cloud.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into the Puma news, but there do appear to be trends shaping up around Eucalyptus traction and web hosting as an emerging private-cloud use case. With true private clouds arguably a later creation than true public clouds, it only makes sense they might follow similar adoption patterns, with production applications coming on board only after a couple of years to experiment, and with web sites leading the way.

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