HP has acquired open-source hybrid cloud software maker Eucalyptus, in a surprise move to bolster its Helion cloud offerings – but what that means for the Eucalyptus software is anyone's guess.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a Reuters report cited an unnamed source who claimed it went down for less than $100m.
Once the deal closes, which is expected to happen by the end of HP's fiscal year in October, Eucalyptus CEO Mårten Mickos will join HP as the new senior vice president of its cloud division.
"Enterprises are demanding open source cloud solutions, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to grow the HP Helion portfolio and lead a world-class business that delivers private, hybrid, managed and public clouds to enterprise customers worldwide," Mickos said in a canned statement.
This won't be the first time that Mickos, a veteran of open source startups, has taken an executive role at a big tech company. He spent a year as senior vice president of the database group at Sun Microsystems after Sun bought open source database maker MySQL AB, where Mickos had spent seven years as CEO.
"The addition of Marten to HP's world-class Cloud leadership team will strengthen and accelerate the strategy we've had in place for more than three years, which is to help businesses build, consume and manage open source hybrid clouds," gushed HP CEO Meg Whitman.
Just what HP has planned for the Eucalyptus technology itself, however – if anything – is unclear.
The open source Eucalyptus software is designed to allow companies to build private and hybrid cloud computing environments that are compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Eucalyptus the company has maintained close relations with Amazon to ensure that customers can easily move and share resources between their own data centers and Amazon's public cloud.
It's solid tech, relatively mature, and it has plenty of fans. The trouble is, most industry heavyweights have lately backed OpenStack, not Eucalyptus, as their open source cloud solution of choice – and that includes HP, which has earmarked $1bn to build out its Helion cloud with OpenStack tech.
In fact, HP's press release announcing the Eucalyptus buy never once mentions the Eucalyptus software, let alone what it plans to do with it, saying only that Mickos will run the company's OpenStack-based Helion cloud.
More to the point, HP dropped support for both the Amazon EC2 APIs and Eucalyptus tools when its Helion cloud went into general availability in December 2013, which doesn't bode well for Eucalyptus' future at the company. El Reg asked HP for clarification, but it declined to comment.
In a blog post in August, however, Mickos discussed the financial difficulties Eucalyptus has weathered over the past few years, and in particular the "tsunami" of competition the company faced in the form of OpenStack, CloudStack, and vCloud Director.
"We are unafraid to compete with any OpenStack vendor," Mickos wrote. "But we are also unafraid of supporting the OpenStack phenomenon. When open source wins, we all win."
From the look of things on Thursday, Mickos will soon be "supporting the OpenStack phenomenon" a lot more than he was expecting to at the time. ®