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Mickos new CEO at cloud manager Eucalyptus

Time for a RightScale merger?

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If you had any hopes that Marten Mickos might lead the charge to commercialize a fork of the open source MySQL database with MySQL founder Michael "Monty" Widenius, forget it. Mickos has a new job as chief executive officer at cloudy infrastructure management software maker Eucalyptus Systems, and has moved on.

Mickos was the CEO at open source database maker MySQL for seven years, and continued as senior vice president of the Database Group (which was, er, essentially MySQL and a dabble of PostgreSQL) after Sun Microsystems shelled out a whopping $1bn to acquire MySQL in January 2008. Mickos left Sun about a year after it took control of MySQL, only a few days behind Widenius, who departed Sun to start a restaurant but who also is the force behind the MariaDB fork of MySQL 5.1. (Mickos backed Oracle's takeover of Sun, while Widenius launched a "Save MySQL" campaign, so getting the band back together for MariaDB was probably not in the cards.)

Mickos certainly knows how to run a commercial entity behind an open source project, which is why Woody Rollins, who has been acting as CEO at Eucalyptus Systems and is one of the company's co-founders, is perfectly happy to step aside to become chief financial officer at the provider of a cloud framework for managing virtualized servers based on Xen, KVM and ESX Server hypervisors. Rich Wolski, the company's other co-founder, remains as chief technology officer. Benchmark Capital and BV Capital have kicked in venture capital to drive Eucalyptus Systems - $5.5m in Series A funding in April 2009, when the company was launched, to be precise.

"Eucalyptus Systems has a brilliant team, highly sophisticated open source technology, and an early lead in a market with a massive global opportunity--all the ingredients for major impact," Mickos said in a statement. "Private and hybrid cloud computing is the future of corporate IT, and for cloud computing to reach its potential, it will have to be built on open source software such as Eucalyptus."

The code behind the Eucalyptus cloud framework, which mimics the EC2 compute utility created by Amazon, is open source, of course. It is embedded in the Ubuntu 9.10 server from last fall and will be enhanced in the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support release, due in April.

Mickos is on the board of directors for RightScale, which sells management tools to properly manage EC2 cloudy infrastructure, rather than mimic it internally on a private cloud as Eucalyptus does. The two companies are obviously a perfect match, of the right venture capitalists can be made to arrange the marriage.

Last week, RightScale said that its tools had been used to launch over one million virtual servers on Amazon's EC2 since the company's Cloud Management Platform was tweaked to support EC2 in March 2008. Benchmark Capital kicked in $4.5m in Series A financing for RightScale the following month. (A second round of funding, netting $13m, was lead by Index Ventures and included funds from Benchmark.) With obvious synergies, a Eucalyptus Systems-RightScale combo makes sense. The two companies are already partners, but they need to work out what to do about RightScale's code, which is still closed source. ®

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