There has been a flurry of activity in the cloud computing space in the few months, and in the past couple weeks in particular. Probably the biggest news, at least for people who’ve been watching the space for years, is that HP bought private-cloud startup Eucalyptus and has made Eucalyptus’s CEO, Marten Mickos (pictured above, at Structure 2012), the new vice president and general manager of HP Cloud.
This is a pretty major move in the world of cloud computing software, where Eucalyptus was one of a handful of options — along with VMware, CloudStack (open source and the Citrix-supported version) and myriad OpenStack distributions — that enterprises wanting private or hybrid cloud environments had to choose from. There are some definite possible benefits of Mickos coming on board to try and transform HP’s cloud strategy and technologies into something companies would want to buy, but there’s also a not-to-clear plan in place about about will happen with the Eucalyptus technology.
We had Mickos, along with HP CTO and director of HP Labs director Martin Fink and HP Cloud Senior Vice President of Product and Service Management Bill Hilf, on the Structure Show podcast to discuss the deal and what it means. You can, and probably should, listen to the whole thing.
But the HP-Eucalyptus deal was just one of a handful of big things that happened in the past couple weeks. We also saw Microsoft thoroughly embrace an open source project from Google, Google hire away Red Hat’s CTO to head up its cloud business, and Citrix realign its cloud strategy after seemingly the entire CloudStack team, including its GM and the technology’s creator, left the company.
If I were a betting man, I still wouldn’t bet on the private cloud approach really panning out, at least as it’s currently being implemented. Next-generation stuff like containers, Kubernetes and Mesos, and Cloud Foundry, seem like a better approach in terms of the operational experience, including going hybrid. They’re already delivering results for the companies using them. I also think Google is going to make life a lot more difficult for everyone — Amazon Web Services, but also traditional enterprise cloud providers — as it tries to prove it’s a legitimate option for all types of workloads and customers.
However, as Barb Darrow and I discuss during the news segment of this week’s podcast, the one company we haven’t heard from lately is AWS, which is likely saving a cache of big news for its annual re:Invent conference in November. It’s in vogue right now to say Google has backed AWS into a corner, but we’ll probably see how true that really is in a couple months. If AWS can prove it’s still an engine of innovation, including making its own push into the data center, then everyone will need to recalibrate their predictions once again.
There has always been a lot of confusion in the private-cloud space, especially around OpenStack, and now there’s a bit of consolidation happening, too. Companies like HP had better figure out a way to finally start selling their vision of cloud computing, or they’re going to find there’s no installed base to cling to when newer, shinier and arguably better options become ready for primetime.