On paper it looks like one of those strategic agreements that large companies sign-up with small startups. But if you look close enough, you will find that by forging a partnership with Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider, Eucalyptus Systems, Amazon.com’s web services division is making a masterful move to dominate the cloud market. As part of the agreement, Amazon will allow Eucalyptus to use its “api” to connect Amazon’s cloud services with the private clouds set-up by large companies.
From the press release:
….an agreement that enables customers to more efficiently migrate workloads between their existing data centers and AWS while using the same management tools and skills across both environments. As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases. Customers can run applications in their existing datacenters that are compatible with popular Amazon Web Services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos who happened to be in New York met with me briefly (I am at our Structure Data conference) and the beaming smile on this said it all. It was clearly a big shot in the arm for his company that started to face competition from many different quarters including the strong efforts of the Open Stack companies.
While the idea of a hybrid
crowd cloud– one that marries public clouds such as Amazon Web Services with private or company owned clouds – has gained popularity, Amazon has been steadfast in its views on what it deems to be the cloud. The Seattle-based retailer believes that cloud is essentially what it sells as S3, EC2 and other related services.
However, Amazon might be softening its stance in small doses. Before today’s news, in Janauary 2012 the company announced Storage Gateway, a way to fuse on-premise storage with its S3 service. A month later, the company announced Simple Workflow Service (SWF) that blurred the boundaries between applications that ran on internal clouds and Amazon’s public cloud.
When asked if this was a tactical admission that Amazon needs a hybrid cloud option, Kay Kinton, a company spokesperson denied and added that is is recognition that the
“integration between on-premises infrastructure and the AWS cloud is a use case that’s important to some of our customers. In addition to this integration with Eucalyptus, we’ve steadily been releasing other features that enable this integration between on-premises infrastructure and AWS, including Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), DirectConnect, and our Identity and Access Management service that many customers integrate to their on-premise identity systems.”
It seems that large companies are increasingly asking more from Amazon about ways to merge their infrastructures. When I asked if an all-public cloud option was over for large enterprises, an Kinton wrote back in an email:
Not at all and we believe that over time, most enterprises will not run their own datacenters and those that do will have a much smaller footprint. That said, many enterprises today have legacy applications and a good deal of investment in those legacy applications. This type of arrangement provides the added flexibility to more freely move workloads between those existing IT environments and AWS.
Amazon says that “a typical scenario for using this service could be a corporation that uses AWS for disaster recovery and who will need to move workloads between AWS and Eucalyptus frequently for testing purposes.” Other scenarios include companies tapping AWS infrastructure in case of spike in demand for an application that resides on Eucalyptus.
The new agreement doesn’t impact cloud management console makers such as RIghtscale since “the management system built around AWS is actually assisted by having another compatible implementation of the AWS APIs.”
When I think about the news, the message is pretty clear: Amazon will do whatever it takes to keep growing its lead in the “cloud” market, even if it means partnering with private cloud providers such as Eucalyptus.
The press release:
Eucalyptus and Amazon Web Services partner to bring additional compatibility between AWS and on-premises IT environments
AWS and Eucalyptus to make it easier for customers to migrate applications between on-premises environments and the cloud
SEATTLE, WA. – March 22, 2012 – Amazon Web Services LLC (AWS), an Amazon.com company and the leader in cloud computing (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Eucalyptus Systems, a provider of on-premises Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) software, today announced an agreement that enables customers to more efficiently migrate workloads between their existing data centers and AWS while using the same management tools and skills across both environments. As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases. Customers can run applications in their existing datacenters that are compatible with popular Amazon Web Services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
“We’re pleased to provide customers with the added flexibility to more freely move workloads between their existing IT environments and the AWS cloud,” said Terry Wise, Director of Amazon Web Services Partner Ecosystem. “Enterprises can now take advantage of a common set of APIs that work with both AWS and Eucalyptus, enabling the use of scripts and other management tools across both platforms without the need to rewrite or maintain environment-specific versions. Additionally, customers can leverage their existing skills and knowledge of the AWS platform by using the same, familiar AWS SDKs and command line tools in their existing data centers.”
“We’re excited to be working more closely with AWS,” said Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus. “The ability to develop against a common set of market-leading APIs, for both on-premise and cloud deployments, is a big benefit for our customers and software partners. This agreement is going to accelerate our roadmap, and help us maintain our compatibility with AWS as both companies continue to innovate.”
“The cloud is becoming an increasingly important foundation for our data center operations, which support more than 600,000 hotel rooms under seven brands,” said Scott Johnson, Vice President of Enterprise Engineering at InterContinental Hotel Group. “As a user of both Amazon Web Services and Eucalyptus, this agreement will provide us with even greater flexibility and scalability for our cloud deployments. We believe the ability to leverage a common set of APIs will significantly transform our operations and provide a business advantage in the competitive hospitality industry.”