Big changes at Eucalyptus: Mickos confirms departures of Wolski, Ziouani

There’s some moving and shaking going on at Eucalyptus, a provider of open-source cloud technology. Co-founder Rich Wolski is stepping back from the company to spend more time back at the University of California, Santa Barbara. And, Said Ziouani, the former Red Hat(s rhat) exec who signed on two years ago to head up sales, is gone. Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos (pictured above) confirmed both pieces of news Friday afternoon.

eucalyptus Mickos said Wolski’s transition back into academia was always part of the plan and that he will remain on the Eucalyptus board. Asked if this was a shake up, he said: “Anytime, Marten Mickos is CEO there is going to be change and adjustments.” Tim Zeller now heads up sales, he added.

The company, which went commercial and closed its first venture capital round in April 2009, grew out of work by Wolski and others at UCSB — the company actually has 7 co-founders.

While it may be true that these changes are part of the natural ebb and flow of business,  it’s definitely true that Eucalyptus competes with CloudStack, OpenStack and OpenNebula open-source clouds, as well as VMware’s(s vmw) proprietary vCloud Director. There are a half dozen different distributions of OpenStack alone from Rackspace(s rax); Cloudscaling; Piston Cloud (see disclosure), HP(s hpq) and others. The real question is whether there’s enough market demand to sustain that many choices for the long haul.

In the words of one VC executive familiar with the company, there are too many “me-too” clouds. “Demand is not there for 90 flavors of OpenStack plus Eucalyptus plus these others,” he said.  Perhaps rising demand for cloud computing will float all boats. But it’s just as likely that there will be consolidation. Watch this space.

Disclosure: Piston is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.