Eucalyptus Touts Private Cloud As Cheaper Alternative To Amazon Web Services

Eucalyptus, which bills itself as the only private cloud vendor that's compatible with the Amazon Web Services public cloud, is pitching its latest software release as a way for customers to move off AWS entirely.

AWS and Eucalyptus have kind of a unique relationship. In a partnership formed in March 2012, Eucalyptus began using the AWS API to link its open source private cloud software with the AWS public cloud, allowing workloads to be moved back and forth.

AWS executives have long claimed that the AWS public cloud is capable, from a security and performance standpoint, of handling anything enterprises can throw at it. The Eucalyptus partnership was an acknowledgement that in some cases, private clouds are necessary.

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The AWS-Eucalyptus partnership lets organizations mix and match private and public cloud as they see fit, which is known as hybrid cloud. However, the two companies are also competitors in the cloud space, and Eucalyptus now seems to be banging the private cloud drum a bit louder than in the past.

"Deploying workloads at scale in the public cloud can be quite expensive over time," Andy Knosp, vice president of product at Eucalyptus, said in a recent interview. "Some organizations feel they can get all the same benefits of the public cloud from a private cloud."

Some Eucalyptus customers have saved up to 75 percent from moving workloads off of public cloud, Knosp told CRN. One example is MemSQL, an in-memory database startup that until recently was doing all of its testing and development on AWS.

"They were looking at their AWS usage on a monthly basis and realized they could shrink that spending by moving to a Eucalyptus private cloud," Knosp said. Amazon couldn’t be reached for comment.

On Wednesday, Eucalyptus unveiled version 3.4 of its private cloud software, which is already "deployed at scale" with customers, Knosp said. It adds new features aimed at making private clouds even more useful for enterprises.

New Eucalyptus 3.4 features include "warm upgrades," or the ability to upgrade a Eucalyptus private cloud without disrupting running apps and processes. The new release also makes it easier to add different images into the environment, Knosp told CRN.

"We've improved the experience of introducing images into Eucalyptus," Knosp said. "You can now boot from an image with very little work on the part of the administrator."

Through new identity and access management features in Eucalyptus 3.4, admins can delegate certain access rights and credentials within an organization more easily than in the past, Knosp said.

NEXT: Eucalyptus: The Future Of Cloud Is Hybrid

While Eucalyptus is touting its private cloud technology, it's also clearly committed to giving customers better tools for hybrid environments. In Eucalyptus 3.4, for example, there's a single interface for cloud administrators that spans Eucalyptus and AWS resources.

"We strongly believe that the future is hybrid, and we're now fully supporting that," Eucalyptus' Knosp said.

The Eucalyptus-AWS partnership is a great example of the sort of "co-opetition" that's happening right now in the cloud space. Eucalyptus got a big boost from partnering with AWS, but it also wants to sell its own private cloud software, and that can lead to mixed marketing messages.

For now, Knosp told CRN that Eucalyptus is sticking close to AWS because of its ecosystem and dominant market position. But if another dominant public cloud player emerges, like Microsoft or Google for example, Eucalyptus can extend its architecture to adopt additional cloud APIs, Knosp said.

"We can break that gravitational force field if we have to," Knosp said. "We have the architecture and the engineering talent to do it."