Can Marten Mickos (pictured, left) capture open source lightning in a bottle -- twice? He previously built MySQL into an estimated $100 million open source database company that Sun ultimately acquired for $1 billion. Now, Mickos is stepping into the CEO role at Eucalyptus Systems, the open-source cloud platform provider. Here’s what Mickos has to say about his new position, and the implications for the channel.

Mickos, an engineer by training, says he began by running several startups in his native Finland before becoming CEO of MySQL AB in 2001. When he left in 2009 following Sun Microsystems’ acquisition of MySQL AB, Mickos sought direction for his career.

That’s when Mickos asked colleagues a simple question: “What’s bigger than open source?” Some wags answered “closed source” in an attempt to be funny, but two words -- “cloud computing” -- kept coming up again and again. With that in mind, he was pointed towards Eucalyptus, where then-CEO Woody Rollins was looking to step out of the spotlight and into the CFO position he now holds.

The fact that both companies were built on open-source technology, in addition to his prior executive management experience, made him a perfect fit for Eucalyptus, he says.

Now that he’s at Eucalyptus, Mickos isn’t planning on rocking the boat, business-wise. He says that the management team has done a great job steering the company towards success, and that under his leadership, technology and business investment will increase with an eye towards turbocharging their growth.

As part of that plan, Mickos plans a renewed focus on Eucalyptus’ channel program. While the cloud platform provider isn’t currently accepting new reseller partners, Mickos says that’s definitely in the cards for 2010. Eucalyptus’ open-source nature provides partners with leads before you even factor in active marketing, he says, and their solution is well-suited for MSPs to build services on top of besides.

Eucalyptus Systems remains one of the most interesting companies in the cloud space. The VAR Guy will be watching Mickos’ tenure as CEO with great interest, so, as always, stay tuned for more.

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