March 22, 2012, 3:16 PM — Eucalyptus has become far more attractive to enterprises wishing to build private clouds, now that the number-one cloud provider -- Amazon Web Services -- has thrown its weight behind the software company.
On Thursday, Amazon said that it would support Eucalyptus' efforts to support Amazon Web Services' APIs (application programming interfaces). Such support makes it easier for companies to move workloads between an internal private cloud based on Eucalyptus and the AWS public cloud.
"As Amazon's only approved platform, [Eucalyptus] can expect its attach rate within organizations consuming Amazon cloud resources to improve substantially," Stephen O'Grady, a Redmonk analyst, wrote in a blog post about the announcement.
The partnership is crucial for Eucalyptus, which has been operating under a cloud of uncertainty since it wasn't clear if Amazon approved of its use of its APIs. O'Grady wrote that some companies wouldn't consider using Amazon's APIs because their legal departments were worried about potential intellectual-property violations.
"Amazon is, for the first time, playing the intellectual property trump card it has been holding in reserve," O'Grady wrote.
The announcement also indicates that for the first time Amazon is recognizing that it needs to support the idea of private clouds. "It's a validation of the private cloud publicly by AWS," said Joshua McKenty, CEO of Piston Cloud, a company that makes private-cloud software based on OpenStack, a competitor to Eucalyptus.
Despite Amazon's position as the dominant public cloud provider, it faces a common complaint from users or potential users who say it's too hard to get their data out of AWS. Making it easier for customers to move data between a private cloud and Amazon's cloud minimizes this issue "as an angle of attack for competitors who might otherwise attempt to sell against Amazon by emphasizing its public cloud-only technology story," O'Grady wrote.
In fact, its openness has been one of OpenStack's biggest selling points. Giants including AT&T, Dell, Internap and Hewlett-Packard have announced or launched public clouds that use the OpenStack software. Many companies like Piston now offer software that enterprises can use to build their own OpenStack clouds. Because they're all based on OpenStack, users should be able to more easily move projects between their private clouds and the public clouds.
That's one big advantage for OpenStack over Eucalyptus, McKenty said. OpenStack users have more options of public clouds, while Eucalyptus users have only AWS as a compatible public cloud option.