Rackspace intros Cloud Block Storage for I/O-heavy apps

Rackspace intros Cloud Block Storage powered by OpenStack with a solid state drive-based option for better performance rates.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Open cloud purveyor Rackspace has introduced Cloud Block Storage, a new approach that is touted to offer the flexibility to create cloud-based storage volumes and interact with them independently of servers.

Powered by OpenStack, Cloud Block Storage is intended to be complementary to Rackspace's core cloud services products.

Rackspace chief technology officer John Engates explained via telephone on Monday that Cloud Block Storage moves storage off the server to allow customers to provision this storage in an independent fashion. Engates added that customers can pick the amount of storage they want to use with the compute instance they want to use.

Because it uses OpenStack, Cloud Block Storage also comes with a common interface for customers to interact with this storage -- whether they are using the Rackspace cloud or another one for provisioning and managing storage.

"That's one of the keys that really OpenStack is trying to enable," Engates said, remarking that means ensuring customers can able to use multiple clouds without having to retool applications.

Engates acknowledged that a common complaint around cloud storage is often poor performance. Thus, Rackspace is aiming to alleviate these woes with two tiers of services.

Customers can choose from either a standard volume option or solid state drive volumes for better speed and matched performance. Engates added that Rackspace has found SSD to be the best way to meet those needs in the cloud right now.

While Engates responded that Cloud Block Storage could certainly meet SMB needs, he affirmed that it could work for enterprise applications as well -- especially those that weren't really possible to deploy into our cloud before.

Engates explained that the linchpin to bringing an enterprise app over is the database, but many customers have been reluctant to move databases to Rackspace cloud environments because they didn't have the tools to move workloads around very quickly.

But with Cloud Block Storage, Engages asserted that this product enables Rackspace to tap into a market that wanted to move workloads around more but couldn't without this capability.

Available now, pricing starts at $0.15 per gigabyte per month for the standard volume option, followed by $0.70 per gigabyte per month for the SSD choice. Both pricing schemes include customer support with I/O at no additional charge.

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