Amazon Web Services and Eucalyptus Partnership – What Does it Mean to Us?

On March 22, AWS and Eucalyptus announced a partnership to bring compatibility between the AWS API and the Eucalyptus API. While this can be perceived as simple technology interoperability between the stacks, this announcement has a significant impact on the Cloud ecosystem.

Amazon’s CTO, Dr. Werner Vogels has been vocal about their stand on the Private Cloud. AWS never endorses the Private Cloud phenomenon and almost considers it as an oxymoron. Dr. Vogels calls Private Cloud as ‘False Cloud’. But this stand has been changing in the recent past. Amazon’s announcement of Storage Gateway is a clear indication that they want to step into the crowded enterprise space. Storage Gateway is the first ever AWS service that runs behind the firewall of an enterprise.

Eucalyptus enjoyed the attention of IaaS customers till the announcement of OpenStack. Given the backing from Rackspace, credibility of NASA and the support of 140+ companies, OpenStack saw a good momentum. Personally, I believe Eucalyptus is more enterprise ready than OpenStack. OpenStack has generated the buzz primarily due to the large brands adopting it and pumping the marketing dollars to talk about it. But for a mid-sized enterprise, OpenStack is incomplete to deploy an end-to-end IaaS stack. Eucalyptus on the other hand, has been more concrete in terms of features and enterprise use cases.

Right from the beginning, Eucalyptus has modeled their API around AWS. This was a smart move for two reasons. One, without reinventing the wheel, they could create interfaces that are proven and used by tens of thousands of developers and the second is the reuse of the tools that AWS and 3rd parties invested in. For example, you can download a specific version of AWS EC2 API Tools and by pointing a couple of environment variables, you can make the tools talk to a local Eucalyptus Cloud. But this move was neither objected nor endorsed by AWS. It’s only now that AWS had officially blessed the APIs and made it official.

AWS Eucalyptus

So, what are the reasons behind this announcement and why now? Well, there are quite a few factors that led both the players to quickly announce this.

Growing Competition from OpenStack – It is slowly becoming AWS vs rest of the world in the Cloud universe. Everyone from HP to Internap is aggressively pushing the OpenStack agenda. Though AWS is far ahead of the competition, they should be concerned about the buzz that OpenStack is generating. So, for AWS it makes absolute sense to partner with someone who is equally hurt by OpenStack and that is Eucalyptus.

Enterprise Strategy – No one can deny the importance of enterprise customers in driving the Cloud adoption. AWS is busy with a strong focus in enhancing the breadth and depth of their Public Cloud offerings. It is hard for them to invest in resources to build an on-premise Cloud platform that can tackle the competition that exists in the form of VMware, Microsoft and Citrix. To bridge the gap, they need to partner with a viable player who can take AWS closer to the enterprises. AWS saw Eucalyptus as the partner to convince enterprises.

Cloud Bursting and Hybrid Strategy – Major competitors of AWS are marching towards offering a homogenous hybrid strategy to enterprises. Nothing stops Microsoft customers to easily move VMs between their Private Cloud and Public Cloud both of which are powered by Windows Server and Hyper-V. OpenStack is hypervisor agnostic and can easily enable VM migration and hybrid scenarios. And then there is VMware, which dreams of turning every low-end hoster into a Public IaaS provider. Running homogenous stack on both Private and Public Cloud will enable Cloud Bursting for enterprises. Cloud Bursting is the technique of moving the workloads back and forth from the Public Cloud to Private Cloud. The key to this strategy is the compatibility of APIs and tools. By jointly investing in the same set of tools, AWS and Eucalyptus can tell a better story to enterprises around the Cloud Bursting and Hybrid strategy.

Overall, it is a smart move from Eucalyptus to get AWS to bless their API. This announcements will make the trade analysts and customers pause for a while and think of their strategy.

Janakiram MSV, Chief Editor,

Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He contributes to cloud related articles on A former employee of Microsoft and Amazon, Janakiram built a cloud consulting company that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is an analyst with GigaOM Research contributing to the Cloud related market research and analysis. He can be reached at