Amazon Web Services, Eucalyptus Partner For Private Cloud Portability

Amazon Web Services, the cloud services arm of e-retail giant, and Eucalyptus Systems, purveyors of the namesake infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) private cloud platform, have announced a partnership that enables the easy migration of workloads between public and on-premises clouds. Just don’t call it a hybrid cloud.

The short version is that Amazon is supporting Eucalyptus as it extends usage of its API, allowing users to easily shunt workloads from their own data centers up to the AWS public cloud. In other words, applications running on the Eucalyptus platform can take advantage of AWS resources like Amazon S3 cloud storage or Amazon EC2 cloud compute.

“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,” said AWS Director of Partner Services Terry Wise in a statement.

The trick is that Amazon has never compromised on its party line, which is that the public cloud is the only cloud that matters. So where many vendors and customers alike would define this AWS-to-Eucalyptus connection as a hybrid cloud solution, seeing as it bridges on-premises and public environments, Amazon sees it as more of a stopgap to address a specific subset of customer needs.

“integration [sic] 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,” an Amazon Web Services spokesperson told GigaOm.

Now, Eucalyptus’ platform has always implemented the specifications for Amazon S3, EC2 and Elastic Block Storage (EBS), as detailed in its FAQ – not to mention support for all the major hypervisors, including VMware’s. So in the short term, don’t expect much to change. But it means that Eucalyptus has the full weight of Amazon behind it as it continues to build out its platform and use-cases, ensuring compatibility, cooperation and generally more functionality going forward.

“Amazon chose to partner with Eucalyptus because we were a great technical fit. Meeting AWS’s technical standards is a significant achievement, and we are extremely proud to be up to that lofty standard. I personally don’t see anyone out there who provides the same technical ability to match the AWS API that we provide,” Eucalyptus VP of Community Greg DeKoenigsberg told ReadWriteWeb.

Services Angle

There are two big takeaways from this: First off, Eucalyptus Systems and its superstar CEO Marten Mickos finally reveal their way to fight back against the OpenStack community, with which it had a public falling-out not long ago. The Amazon EC2 specification, for better or for worse, is the de facto standard in the cloud industry, thanks to its early emergence as a leader in the marketplace.

By making itself a deeply entrenched part of the Amazon ecosystem, Eucalyptus has made a powerful ally, and customers who were considering the relatively fledgling OpenStack for its flexibility may choose to go with the more mature AWS platform instead.

The second takeaway is that, as I hinted above, is that Amazon has finally, finally recognized that the public cloud has its place, but it can’t yet be all things to all businesses. Enterprises want to retain at least partial control over their computing infrastructure, even as they seek to take advantage of the scalability and cost benefits that the public cloud can afford them.

This partnership reflects Amazon attempting to have the best of both worlds, as it can now focus on developing its public cloud portfolio, while Eucalyptus continues to work on its play for the private cloud. Customers get more choice, Eucalyptus gets some cloud muscle, and Amazon just keeps reinforcing its position of power in the cloud marketplace. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see how the OpenStack community and cloud market at large react to this partnership.