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Ecalyptus: Blog Feed Post

Eucalyptus Project Closes $5.5 Million Series A with Benchmark

Wolski is quick to stress that Eucalyptus Systems is an open source company

It’s only a few short weeks since I last spoke with Rich Wolski, Director of the open source EUCALYPTUS Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“EUCALYPTUS — Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems — is an open-source software infrastructure for implementing Elastic/Utility/Cloud computing using computing clusters and/or workstation farms. The current interface to EUCALYPTUS is interface-compatible with Amazon.com’s EC2 (arguably the most commercially successful Cloud computing service), but the infrastructure is designed to be modified and extended so that multiple client-side interfaces can be supported. In addition, EUCALYPTUS is implemented using commonly-available Linux tools and basic web service technology making it easy to install and maintain.”

Since then, we’ve seen EUCALYPTUS embraced by Sun Microsystems in their Cloud announcements and potentially downloaded to millions of machines around the world as part of the latest update to Linux’s popular Ubuntu distribution.

web-logo-eucalyptus-systemsToday the UCSB research project takes the next step, announcing a successful Series A investment round led by Benchmark Capital that moves the team out of the University and onto a professional footing with $5.5 Million to spend. Project Director Wolski becomes CTO, with Woody Rollins as CEO and Matt Reid as VP Sales & Marketing rounding out Eucalyptus Systems‘ fledgling management team. Wolski reports that the entire UCSB development team is moving across to the newly capitalised company, which is licensing IP from UCSB in return for an undisclosed equity stake. Benchmark’s Kevin Harvey takes a seat on the Board, which is Chaired by former AOL Europe CEO Andreas Von Blottnitz.

Wolski is quick to stress that Eucalyptus Systems is an open source company; there is no intention to start charging for software that is freely available for download today, and this will be actively maintained and developed moving forward. A point release is expected ‘in about a week’ to resolve minor issues with respect to Ubuntu 9.04, and version 1.6 of Eucalyptus will follow ‘in 6-8 weeks.’

Speaking of the company’s proposition to new customers, Wolski suggests that

“Eucalyptus Systems will enable businesses of any size to leverage their own IT resources to get the benefits of cloud computing without the concerns of lock-in, security ambiguity, and unexpected storage costs that can be associated with public clouds.”

Interestingly, Wolski describes the revenue model traditionally employed by companies seeking to make money from open source as no more than a way of boot-strapping Eucalyptus Systems toward their real goal. Rather than simply concentrating on the provision of for-profit support and consultancy, Wolski has his sights set on the sale of new Eucalyptus-powered software solutions directly addressed to Enterprise customers. It’s not yet clear whether these solutions will be SaaS offerings or for on-premise installation, but Wolski is confident that the company’s early customers will begin to receive their new software during the third quarter of 2009.

Although best known for providing an on-premise equivalent to Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Wolski stresses that the Eucalyptus architecture is API agnostic and could be extended to emulate other Cloud solutions relatively easily. This, allied with Eucalyptus’ industry-leading support for both the KVM and Xen hypervisors, raises the prospect of enterprise customers integrating their own (Eucalyptus powered) internal Cloud with different public Clouds, seamlessly and at will.

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Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database. He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.