Rackspace wires OpenStack into its cloud

The Next Generation Public Cloud products are based on the OpenStack infrastructure-as-a-service, which has benefited from major code contributions from Rackspace
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Rackspace is preparing to launch a batch of cloud-computing technologies based on OpenStack infrastructure-as-a-service software, of which it is a key code contributor.

The product family, the Rackspace Next Generation Public Cloud, was introduced by the San Antonio, Texas-based company on Monday at the OpenStack Design Summit in San Francisco. It ranges from rentable compute and storage services, to cloud databases, management tools and other software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. The technologies are all at different stages of development, with two ready for production deployment with support, two qualified for production deployment but lacking support, and two in very early stages.

"The open era of the cloud is a reality, and Rackspace has positioned itself at the forefront of this massive, technological shift," Lanham Napier, Rackspace's chief executive, said in a statement. "We're drawing a line in the sand against proprietary cloud providers."

Initially, Rackspace is putting out a Cloud Server and a Cloud Control Panel management console in "limited availability", meaning it is slowly providing the services to existing customers over an undisclosed period of time. This is to "ensure a smooth ramp-up", the company said. In addition, it is offering some customers the ability to test preview versions of Cloud Block Storage and Cloud Networks, but these technologies come with no support.

Eventually, it plans to start rolling out a high-availability MySQL Cloud Database and a Cloud Monitoring service, though it did not give a time frame for these.

OpenStack backing

The company is staking its future on the success of OpenStack, going by its comments in the past. "It's in our interest as a company to have a ubiquitous standard for the cloud," Napier said on the company's second-quarter earnings call in August.

Rackspace already offers OpenStack to customers as a private cloud technology. HP has also based its public cloud on the open-source IaaS, which earlier in April saw the release of its fifth distribution, named Essex.

OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus are the three most popular open-source private clouds. Last week, virtualisation specialist VMware compared them to the "ugly sisters" from the Cinderella fairytale, contrasting their limited success with the large adoption of its own proprietary vCloud technology.

"There are now more than 100 verified VMware vCloud public clouds, which is an order of magnitude greater than the ugly sisters' combined total," Matthew Lodge, senior director of cloud computing marketing at VMware, wrote in a blog post. "You can now get a vCloud in 24 countries, effectively forming the world's largest community of compatible public clouds."

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