OpenStack vs. Eucalyptus: Cloud Rivals or Friends?

At first glance, OpenStack is an open source platform for service providers and Eucalyptus is an open source platform for private clouds. But if you listen closely to vendors in the market, some folks think OpenStack and Eucalyptus will wind up competing for the hearts and minds of cloud integrators and service providers.

Publicly, Eucalyptus Systems CEO Marten Mickos says OpenStack and Eucalyptus appeal to different types of users. But if you really push some of the partners within the OpenStack community, they see OpenStack potentially competing with Eucalyptus.

Either way, vendors are starting to hedge their bets and promote both platforms. A prime example: Canonical, promoter of Ubuntu Linux, has been a vocal proponent of Eucalyptus. But in recent months, Canonical has also been making lots of noise about OpenStack.

A Bigger Trend?


I think Canonical's moves are a microcosm of the cloud industry, where it's still too dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket. Simply put, both OpenStack and Eucalyptus are in their infancy. We're in the early days of the cloud. It's unclear whether OpenStack or Eucalyptus will achieve commercial success. Both platforms have their backers. But I gotta say: It seems like OpenStack has been grabbing more and more of the buzz lately.

Sure, Eucalyptus has enjoyed some key milestones. Just yesterday, Dell and Canonical announced plans to ship Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) on selected Dell servers. UEC leverages Eucalyptus. But I think the Dell-Canonical agreement was carefully timed, delivered one day ahead of even bigger OpenStack news.

Indeed, the latest OpenStack released -- as TalkinCloud's Matt Weinberger reported today -- is backed by giants like Cisco Systems. And Canonical itself plans to fully integrate OpenStack on Ubuntu Server 11.04, due in April 2011.

Canonical's blog today states:
"We have been engaged with the OpenStack community informally for some time. Some Canonical alumni have been key to driving the the OpenStack initiative over in Rackspace and there has been a very healthy dialogue between the two projects with strong attendance at UDS and at the OpenStack conferences by engineers in both camps."

Still, Canonical also remains committed to Eucalyptus. And it sounds like the Ubuntu Server 11.04 release will pack plenty of OpenStack and Eucalyptus punch.

Next Moves


That said, I'm curious to see how this story plays out. Rackspace is a publicly held, fast-growing services provider. The company is well-known within business and technology circles, so the OpenStack effort should continue to receive plenty of publicity.

In stark contrast, Eucalyptus Systems is an upstart. CEO Marten Mickos is a sharp guy with plenty of business, IT and open source connections. But I still get the feeling that OpenStack is winning the mind share war because RackSpace has successfully pulled so many service providers into the conversation.

Will mind share translate into market share and service provider adoption? We'll be watching. Right now the open source cloud race is too close to call. That's why Canonical and several other companies are hedging their bets -- embracing both Eucalyptus and now OpenStack.

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