Rackspace Cloud Builder: Will Service Providers Say Yes?
Rackspace Hosting may have found a new way to accelerate OpenStack cloud deployments. The strategy is called Rackspace Cloud Builder, and it leverages Rackspace’s recent acquisition of Anso Labs — a business that has deep OpenStack expertise.
According to a press release, Rackspace Cloud Builder will “offer training and certification, deployment services, and ongoing support to enterprises and service providers through its team of OpenStack experts and its network of technology industry leaders.”
Added Jim Curry, general manager of Rackspace Cloud Builders: “Customers want to realize the benefits of cloud computing in many locations depending on their requirements and needs. The promise of being open, flexible and compatible makes OpenStack the ideal platform; however, they also want the assurance that a partner like Rackspace is standing behind them when deploying it in their own datacenters. We are ready to support OpenStack deployments anywhere starting today.”
The Rackspace Cloud Builders effort will include:
- Training & Certification – including training classes and certification testing for designing, developing and administering OpenStack Clouds. Rackspace also plans to empower a network of training and certification experts, according to Rackspace.
- Deployment Services – to help customers design and deploy OpenStack Clouds, Rackspace adds.
- Support & Management – Customers will have ongoing access to remote support and escalation assistance from the OpenStack experts, including proactive monitoring and fixes, Rackspace concluded.
Pros and Cons
On the upside: The Rackspace Cloud Builder service may give enterprise customers peace of mind as they consider OpenStack for cloud projects. But on the downside: Rackspace runs the potential risk of dominating the OpenStack discussion. OpenStack has been positioned as an open, vendor-neutral platform for enterprises and services providers. In a statement today, Rackspace reinforced the fact that the OpenStack ecosystem includes Autonomic Resources, Canonical, Citrix, Cloudscaling, Cybera, Dell, Equinix, Intel, Grid Dynamics, Microsoft and Opscode.
Meanwhile, TalkinCloud will also closely monitor how OpenStack potentially competes and cooperates with Eucalyptus, an open source offering for private clouds. For the most part, Rackspace has positioned OpenStack for public clouds built by service providers. But today’s Rackspace Cloud Builder announcement also emphasized an OpenStack enterprise focus — perhaps signaling potential competition between Eucalyptus and OpenStack. Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos has previously stated that Eucalyptus and OpenStack are complementary solutions rather than head-on rivals.
Differentiating in the Cloud
There’s another story angle to consider here. While many hosting providers struggle to communicate their unique market value, Rackspace seems to have three clear points of differentiation. First, the company continues to promote fanatical support as a rally cry across and within Rackspace. Second, Rackspace has reorganized its channel partner efforts in a single program that allows VARs and MSPs to more easily cross sell and upsell Rackspace’s cloud and SaaS solutions. And third, OpenStack could provide a market differentiator as enterprises and MSPs seek to stand up more cloud services.