HP's move to acquire Eucalpytus (seeby my colleague Larry Dignan) is the latest example of asupplier trying to be a part of every industry party.
Like all major hardware players, HP wants want to be involved with cloud regardless of the stack of software used to create the cloud computing environment. They do this because they wish to be chosen by their installed base regardless of the industry trend or technology.
If we take a moment to consider the major systems and software players, a strong majority of them are involved with Amazon AWS, Azure, OpenStack, VMware vSpere and even Cloud Stack. I don't believe that they expect any one of those to be the clear winner and all of the others will go away. They need to present the image and the reality that they are involved and have expertise regardless of what their customers are likely to ask of them.
Amazon AWS is a public cloud leader
Amazon AWS holds the lion's share of the public cloud spend at the moment. Eucalyptus has long been a frenemy of Amazon and has tried to position itself as the best tool to create on-premise AWS-compatible clouds and AWS-compatible hybrid cloud environments. Like the other cloud platforms, most of the major systems suppliers have some sort of relationship with Eucalyptus now.
HP clearly wants to present itself as being the "most compatible" of the compatible systems suppliers when it comes to AWS.
Creating an advantage in a complex, busy market
HP clearly is trying to differentiate itself from the other systems suppliers, such as Cisco, Dell and IBM, by having its own AWS-compatible approach. Eucalyptus has already developed such a platform. HP management must have decided that it would be less costly to purchase the company to obtain a working AWS compatible platform that it would be to create one from scratch.
Customers that have built IT solutions using Amazon's AWS may decide that HP will do a better job of supporting the AWS cloud framework than other suppliers because it owns the engineering talent and now has the relationship with Amazon.
What about the competition?
Many hardware, software and services suppliers have relationships with Eucalyptus so that they can help customers create on-premise, dedicated, AWS-compatible cloud environments. It is not clear what these players are going to do once Eucalyptus is an HP product.
I would speculate that the smaller Eucalyptus partners will continue working with that technology because it would be too costly to jump ship now. Larger partners — such as Cisco, Dell and IBM — are likely to continue being partners, but are to steer clients to OpenStack or Azure as a way to reduce HP’s influence in their customer bases.