Amazon Adds a Hint of Eucalyptus to AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has teamed up with private cloud infrastructure provider Eucalyptus in a move that could enable the deployment of hybrid clouds.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of internal private clouds and external public clouds.

Under the agreement, AWS will support the integration of private cloud deployments on open source Eucalyptus with AWS compute and storage services using AWS’ application programming interfaces (APIs).

The team-up means enterprises can leverage a common set of APIs that work with both AWS and Eucalyptus. This means they can use scripts and other management tools across both platforms without having to rewrite them or maintain different versions for each environment.

“The agreement … is about enabling customers to more efficiently migrate workloads between their existing data centers and AWS while using the same management tools and skills across both environments,” Amazon spokesperson Kay Kinton told LinuxInsider.

What’s Eucalyptus?

Eucalyptus Systems offers what it claims to be the most widely deployed software platform for on-premises Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This is an open source product that supports APIs from AWS and major virtualization platforms, including VMware’s vSphere, ESX and ESXi, KVM and Xen.

Customers of Eucalyptus can use their existing infrastructure to create scalable, secure cloud resources that are compatible with AWS.

An About Face for AWS?

Back in June 2010, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels reportedly criticized the concept of private clouds, describing it as a marketing tactic designed by cloud computing vendors to hang onto their customers.

His colleague, AWS vice president Adam Selipsky, reportedly said that there was a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt about the private cloud.

However, the teaming up with Eucalyptus does not indicate a change of stance, Amazon’s Kinton stated.

“AWS’ views on the private cloud have not changed,” she said. “there are a number of enterprises which have legacy applications and who will be using those existing investments while they also look to increasingly offload workloads to the cloud. This agreement simply makes it easier for enterprises to do both.”

Bending to the Market’s Will

Another way to interpret Amazon’s move is to think of it as the company following market trends.

Despite the United States federal government’s well-publicized adoption of cloud computing, many enterprises remain concerned about security and reliability in the cloud.

Concerns about reliability were heightened when AWS crashed in April of 2011, taking thousands of websites, mostly those of smaller startups, with it. Many of these companies lost their data.

Further, enterprises prefer to keep highly sensitive data in-house, on private clouds.

The result has been the advent of the hybrid cloud, where companies keep sensitive data on a private cloud and less sensitive data on the public cloud.

At VMware’s VMworld 2010, held in August of that year, Rick Jackson, the company’s chief marketing officer, opined that hybrid cloud computing would be the model for this decade.

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