HP to Buy Cloud Company Previously Allied With Amazon

Hewlett-Packard Co. is buying cloud-computing software developer Eucalyptus Systems Inc. as Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman embarks on new acquisitions to bolster the computer maker’s businesses.

Eucalyptus, founded in 2009, provides technology that lets companies store, process and deliver computing data via the Internet. The Goleta, California-based company has raised $55.5 million in three financing rounds. Hewlett-Packard is paying less than $100 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The deal marks a return to mergers and acquisitions for Whitman after a dry spell following Hewlett-Packard’s $8.8 billion writedown of Autonomy Corp. in 2012, a year after buying the data software company for $10.3 billion. Hewlett-Packard, the world’s second-largest seller of server computers, is seeking to add customers setting up their own cloud networks.

As part of the acquisition, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos will join Hewlett-Packard as senior vice president. He takes over as general manager of Hewlett-Packard’s cloud-computing business, replacing Martin Fink, who previously led the cloud unit and will remain as chief technology officer and director of HP Labs, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. Mickos will report directly to Whitman.

Hewlett-Packard’s cloud-computing hardware, software and services are sold under the name HP Helion and compete with Internet-hosted services from Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., as well as software sold by VMware Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., Red Hat Inc. and others.

Cloud Computing

“We can help you build the cloud you want your way versus trying to get you to commit to our products,” Bill Hilf, senior vice president of Hewlett-Packard’s cloud product management organization, said in a telephone interview.

Eucalyptus has long been allied with Amazon. The companies forged a wide-ranging agreement in early 2012 to work together on making Eucalyptus’s technology better fit Amazon’s cloud-computing services.

Eucalyptus’s open-source software is designed to let administrators manage corporate data centers in the same way they would run cloud-computing services from Amazon. Eucalyptus offers broad support for Amazon’s application programming interfaces, or APIs, which let computers exchange data with each other in a common language.

HP Helion products are based on OpenStack, a different cloud-computing software standard that has its own set of APIs. Mickos said in early August that he wanted Eucalyptus to become more involved in OpenStack.

Mickos was previously CEO of database-software company MySQL, which was bought by Sun Microsystems in 2008. He worked as a vice president at Sun until March 2009.

Eucalyptus has struggled to keep pace with developments in the fast-changing cloud-computing market. Mickos wrote in a blog post in August that “we have turned around the Eucalyptus ship” after challenging conditions in 2010.

Hewlett-Packard said the Eucalyptus deal will probably be completed within the current fiscal year, which ends in October.

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