Worth Watching: RackSpace Puts Databases in the Cloud

Most managed service providers (MSPs) know Rackspace as a potential hosting partner. But the Rackspace Cloud effort (formerly called Mosso) is worth watching, especially as MSPs evaluate their own SaaS and cloud strategies. The latest Rackspace move involves a partnership with FathomDB. And it could provide an alternative to Microsoft's emerging Azure cloud. Here's a look.

FathomDB is a startup that specializes in Databases as a Service. The company, backed by Y Combinator, offered some clues about its business strategy in February 2009.

Fast forward to the present, and the new Rackspace-FathomDB relationship will deliver MySQL database management as a service. FathtomDB has a similar relationship with the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Why MSPs Should Care

We realize the vast majority of customer applications will remain on-premise for the foreseeable future. But we strongly believe in a hybrid future, where some apps run locally and others run as a SaaS service in someone's cloud.

But who's cloud? We're keeping close tabs on Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and RackSpace because they seem to be setting the pace -- at least in terms of news announcements. Whenever Amazon announces a feature or relationship, RackSpace seems to match it ... then, any number of smaller competitors follow RackSpace's lead.

Also of note: Generally speaking, cloud applications require an underlying database. And in a growing number of cloud cases that database is MySQL -- which Oracle expects to acquire as part of the Sun Microsystems buyout.

It's only a matter of time before many cloud services -- such as Database as a Service -- are commodities. When that happens, what's going to set you apart in the cloud? Size? Support? Security? Subscription fees? Your own brand?
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