In a slap against cloud-computing rival Amazon, HP just bought a company called Eucalyptus Systems.
Terms were not disclosed but this is a significant buy for a bunch of reasons.
First it gives HP a nice tool to nab Amazon cloud customers.
Eucalyptus makes software for something called “private” cloud computing. That’s where companies use cloud-computing technology in their own data centres to help them use their computers and networks more efficiently.
Eucalyptus makes private cloud software that mimics Amazon’s cloud. You could build a mini-Amazon in your own data center then easily move apps and data between your own data center and Amazon’s cloud, tapping into Amazon whenever you needed extra computing power. (A concept is known in as “hybrid” computing in the tech industry.)
Until Amazon’s huge contract with the CIA, Amazon didn’t offer any private cloud tech. And that deal was for a specially constructed data center that will cost up to $US600 million. Everyone else gets the software from an Amazon partner like Eucalyptus. For instance security software company F-Secure just signed up with Eucalyptus to do a hybrid Amazon cloud.
By buying this company, HP gains technology that will help it build private clouds that work with Amazon. And it gets a chance to persuade those enterprises to move to its own cloud.
In May, HP announced that it would be investing $US1 billion in that cloud business, a new unit called Helion run by Martin Fink. Fink wears three hats for HP. He runs this cloud business, is chief technology officer, and is director of HP Labs.
As part of this acquisition, HP will make Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos the manager of that cloud business, reporting directly to Whitman.
Mickos is a big name in the open-source world. Prior to Eucalyptus he ran a scrappy database startup called mySQL and built it into a business that sold to Sun Microsystems for $US1 billion in 2008. mySQL is now part of Oracle.
She hasn’t felt free to shop. HP is going through a multi-year turnaround to trim debt and grow revenue again, including a massive layoff of 45,000 to 50,0o0 people.
But in May HP reported its first year-over-year increase in revenue in three years and Whitman indicated the company would be making “small” acquisitions in the “low hundreds to millions to mid-sized deals.”
As to how much HP might have paid for Eucalyptus: it raised $US55.5 million, including $US30 million in 2012.