KDnuggets Exclusive: Marten Mickos, SVP, HP on Why the Future Belongs to “Hybrid Clouds”

In an exclusive interview with KDnuggets, Marten talks about the future of Eucalyptus (recently acquired by HP), defines Hybrid Clouds and their importance, and gives some tips for vendor selection.

Eucalyptus, the open source private cloud software firm focused on building clouds compatible with Amazon Web Services APIs, was acquired by HP in September 2014, citing common vision for the future of cloud in the enterprise. With this, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos moved to HP, leading the HP Cloud organization and building out the HP Helion portfolio, based on OpenStack technology.

Marten recently delivered a keynote at RICON 2014 on “Full victory for open source”. The video of his talk is available here.

Here is my interview with him, preceded by his short bio:

Marten MickosMarten Mickos is the head of the HP Cloud business unit. In this role Marten leads the cloud strategy and oversees development of the HP Helion portfolio of cloud products and services, as well as the company’s involvement in the OpenStack technology and other open source communities.

Mickos joined HP in September 2014. Prior to HP, Mickos was CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, provider of the only AWS-compatible open source cloud computing platform. Before that as CEO of MySQL AB, Mickos grew that company from a garage start-up to the second largest open source company in the world, ultimately serving as head of Sun Microsystem's Database Group.

Marten holds a M.Sc. in technical physics from Helsinki University of Technology in his native Finland.

Anmol Rajpurohit: Q1. What do you consider as the critical success factors that helped Eucalyptus grow rapidly, even amid intense competition?

Eucalyptus-logoMarten Mickos: Eucalyptus had (and has) a very sharp focus: AWS-compatible private clouds that are very easy to install, use and operate. That focus allowed the company to grow.

AR: Q2. What role do you foresee Eucalyptus playing in the HP Helion ecosystem? What kind of synergy do you expect?

HP Helion LogoMM: The Eucalyptus product will become part of the Helion family. This will allow for workload mobility to and from AWS. Additionally, HP will use the know-how that the Eucalyptus team possesses to make Helion OpenStack easier to use and operate, and to create various hybrid solutions.

AR: Q3. How do you define "Hybrid Cloud"? What are the key advantages and challenges of Hybrid Cloud?
MM: I see three main meanings of “hybrid cloud”. As a vendor, we (HP) listen to our customers and let them define what the terminology means. The three main meanings are:
  • A private cloud and a public cloud that follow the same API and thereby allow easy mobility of application workloads. Examples: Helion OpenStack and HP Public cloud. Or Eucalyptus and AWS.
  • An environment with legacy IT and a private cloud. Most customers of HP have this situation. We provide CloudSystem as the platform for existing workloads and Helion as the platform for cloud workloads.
  • A situation with disparate clouds in use. A customer may use both VMware’s cloud and HP Helion OpenStack. The customer will say that they have a hybrid environment.

Different hybrid environments require different hybrid solutions. In category 1 above, the key is to have the same API on the public and the private cloud. In category 2, you hybridize with a service catalog (such as HP Cloud Service Automation) that can deal with both environments. In the third category, you typically connect the two environments through the use of PaaS such as Helion Developer Platform. The PaaS layer masks the underlying differences in the clouds.

Nearly every customer will have a hybrid environment of one or the other type. That’s why vendors must have solutions to these hybrid requirements. The benefits are workload mobility. As a customer, you can choose where to run your app workloads. This can save you money and make you more agile.

AR: Q4. What are the most important factors that an organization should consider while selecting a vendor for cloud software and services?

Vendor SelectionMM: You should always select vendors who are aligned with your own strategic goals. If you believe in open source, you need to select a vendor that is committed to open source. If you want full deployment flexibility, you need to choose a vendor that can offer private cloud, managed cloud and public cloud. If you are a large organization, you should select a vendor that can help and guide you on your journey to cloud.

Second and last part of the interview is here.