A Christmas Story

Posted by Woody Rollins on 12/30/19 4:09 AM

As an entrepreneur, I have met many inspirational thinkers and leaders, but none as colorful as Boston’s George Naddaff. George is a dynamic, tireless and passionate entrepreneur who was the force behind Boston Chicken (later known as Boston Market), the hottest IPO of 1993. George was an unwitting mentor to me and I voraciously consumed his sage advice on business, people and life. One afternoon while I was practicing for a pitch, George barks, “Tell them a story.” I looked quizzically at the charismatic poultry magnate and he continues, “People want to hear a good story. Tell them a story.”

So with that introduction, I will regale you with a story. In 2009, I had the great fortune to meet Rich Wolski, a computer science professor at UC Santa Barbara. Rich is one of those guys that burns 1,000 calories walking into a room and can explain anything to anyone. He is brilliant. Rich and his team were working on an open source private cloud platform code-named Eucalyptus. As is true with all good research projects, Eucalyptus was an acronym: Elastic Utility Computing Architecture Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems. It’s a Ph.D. thing I soon learned.

Eucalyptus was attracting a great deal of commercial interest at the time, so we wrote a business plan, raised some angel money, and commercialized Eucalyptus. We then quickly raised an A Round from Benchmark Capital and set off to conquer the world with our thesis that the world would be all about “hybrid cloud” and that Amazon Web Services (AWS) would be the public cloud of choice. So with an AWS independent and compatible platform, we ultimately raised $65m from such venerable Silicon Valley VC’s as NEA and IVP, grew the team to 150 incredible contributors before selling to HP in 2014. It was a bittersweet moment but it seemed like the prudent thing to do.

Fast forward to mid-2018, when I received a phone call from DXC, the $30b company where Eucalyptus ended up after a couple of splits and mergers at HP. 

The DXC call was brief and game-changing. The question was: “Would we be willing to support the customers who had made big investments in Eucalyptus?” Their clouds were mission-critical and required mature, enterprise-grade support to protect their production workloads. Since many of the co-founders that developed Eucalyptus were working on our new project at AppScale, a new company we had formed with a focus on hybrid cloud, we were in a unique position to help these Euca customers and to help DXC. We said yes. 

After some discussion between DXC and AppScale, we reclaimed the IP of our cloud-pioneering software that we created and sold to HP, hired more rockstar developers, and set out to find new customers. At the time, NOKIA was running 200,000 cores in a global Eucalyptus cloud supporting their worldwide R&D teams and defense contractor British Aerospace was using our software for test/dev before deployment to the AWS intelligence-community cloud. Wipro, the Indian IT consulting giant, was using Euca to create private AWS-style clouds for the North Indian state of Haryana.

During the Eucalyptus tenure at HP, they sold more Eucalyptus clouds than OpenStack clouds. Why? Because the technology was robust and stable, easy to install and use, and we had a super high-fidelity implementation of the core infrastructure AWS APIs. As one of our customers was quoted; “You guys are light years ahead of the competition when it comes to your implementation of the AWS API’s.” We hear this often.

In technology, you have little control over timing. Early in this decade, customers were busy understanding public cloud innovation and poking at the hybrid cloud concept. Today, however, hybrid cloud is a fundamental element of IT strategy and AWS is the dominant public cloud with nearly 40% market share. The recent launch of AWS Outposts is the market validation for AWS-compatible hybrid clouds and Eucalyptus is the most mature, enterprise-proven, scalable, independent AWS-compatible hybrid available on the market.

We have changed the name from Eucalyptus to AppScale ATS and are relaunching the product next month. We are working with enterprise customers and have also designed a new Cloud Service Provider offering for co-location providers, MSPs, and bare-metal SPs. This offering allows Cloud Service Providers to offer AppScale ATS directly to their customers with AppScale support. Because AppScale ATS looks like another AWS region, it feels the same as AWS to developers, operators, and administrators, which eliminates the need for any retraining or certification. Your investment in AWS is preserved with AppScale ATS, only now you can run your native AWS workload in your on-premises private data center, colo, or bare metal provider, independent from AWS and typically at up to 50% savings versus AWS offerings. Our predominant use case is dev/test, where customers develop and test their AWS workloads on AppScale ATS before production deployment to AWS. We have customers who are saving millions annually on their AWS bill - in addition to enhancing agility, compliance, and productivity.

If you are a cloud-native AWS customer, we can help to substantially reduce your AWS bill, solve data gravity and sovereignty issues and give you finer control over your AWS hybrid cloud, all without rewriting code or learning something new. Learn how we can help you create a powerful, cost-efficient, scalable and independent AWS hybrid cloud.

Drop me an email at woody@appscale.com and we will get the ball rolling.

Topics: AppScale News, Industry News, Industry Insight, AppScale Company

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