Rackspace Upgrades RackConnect Hybrid Clouds
Rackspace Hosting is continuing its all-points barrage of news this week. The latest move: The RackConnect hybrid cloud solution has received some major enhancements, including better automation, more security and a wider range of management options. I had the chance to discuss the news with Toby Owen, senior manager for Hybrid Cloud Solutions at Rackspace.
Just in nuts-and-bolts terms, RackConnect bridges the scalable Rackspace Cloud and the secure Dedicated Hosting offering, and both are based out of Rackspace’s own data facilities — “hybrid cloud,” in this one instance, has nothing to do with a cloud platform hosted on the customers’ premises. The benefits include better security for absolutely critical data and the ability to burst workloads from one to the other.
The upgrade, which is now live for RackConnect customers, includes benefits like:
- The ability to automatically configure servers provisioned in the cloud and instantly add them to a load balancer.
- A self-service portal for setting network security and configuration policies, including the ability to manage physical and virtual firewalls.
- Higher cost efficiency and performance.
- The ability to VPN into your hybrid cloud environment.
- The ability to use a private lease line to connect your on-premises environment up to the Rackspace Cloud (the sole exception to the “only in Rackspace data center” component I mentioned above).
And more new features and functionality besides. Internally, Owen says that they’ve been referring to this overhaul as “RackConnect 2.0,” and it’s designed to specifically address the customer feedback Rackspace has garnered since RackConnect launched almost exactly a year ago in the November of 2010.
As for future plans, Owen is indicating that this is a major milestone, but there’s plenty more work to be done. In fact, Owen says that the logical endpoint for RackConnect would be for it not to be a product at all: this kind of customer flexibility between exactly how and where their cloud is hosted should be “table stakes” for cloud service providers.
Speaking of cloud service providers, Owen says that until RackConnect’s functionality is just an accepted standard, it’s a powerful differentiator for Rackspace’s partner base. No one else in the channel has this kind of portfolio, and no one else is meeting this kind of customer demand, the company claims.