Rackspace launches Cloud Connect: A hosting, cloud hybrid service

Rackspace launched two offerings to bridge its cloud and hosting businesses and better take advantage of hybrid data centers.

Rackspace on Tuesday launched two offerings to bridge its cloud and hosting businesses and better take advantage of hybrid data centers.

The move, which was previewed on Rackspace's most recent earnings conference call, gives the company an avenue to bring managed service levels for cloud computing customers.

Here's the breakdown of Rackspace's two new products:

  • Cloud Connect, which aims to give customers easy integration between its cloud computing services and dedicated hosting.
  • Critical Sites, an effort to ensure service levels and uptime via advance monitoring.

Of the two efforts, Cloud Connect probably will have the biggest impact on Rackspace's business. Rackspace's fastest revenue growth comes from cloud services, but most of its sales are hosting related. Cloud Connect, which started as a beta in early November, is designed to link cloud computing and traditional hosting.

John Engates, CTO of Rackspace, said Cloud Connect is essentially a managed hosting service with the ability to expand into the cloud as requirements warrant. An existing customer would need a F5 load balancer or Cisco firewall to make Cloud Connect work. Rackspace will secure the connection from hosting to the cloud, apply policies and scale the service.

“Cloud connect can be used as overflow from a private to public cloud environment in a compliance driven way,” said Engates. Customers may choose to put the Web tier of infrastructure into the cloud with dedicated storage and hosting residing in the hosting center. As far as pricing goes, connecting to the cloud is free, but customers will play market rates for bandwidth after that.

Customers will get one account support team and won't be charged for bandwidth from inside Cloud Connect.

Critical Sites is basically a premium service tier level for customers that primarily rely on an online presence. Customers for Critical Sites will get a team of engineers to make sure there sites perform well and stay up.