April 17, 2012

2 Min Read
Rackspace Declares War Against Proprietary Cloud Platforms

By samdizzy

When Rackspace launched new cloud services on OpenStack yesterday, the company essentially declared war against proprietary cloud computing platforms and closed systems.

In a prepared statement, Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier said:

“We’re drawing a line in the sand against proprietary cloud providers. With this launch, Rackspace is providing an open cloud alternative, backed by Fanatical Support and our core expertise on OpenStack, to deliver a strong product portfolio that will help customers navigate their way through an increasingly complex cloud environment.”

Napier didn’t mention any proprietary cloud providers by name, but it’s a safe bet Napier was pointing to potential rivals like Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft is quick to note that Azure supports a range of open source developer options, but ultimately the underlying Azure platform is proprietary Windows. Similarly, Amazon is quick to note that open source partners such as Eucalyptus support Amazon’s cloud APIs, but ultimately Amazon controls those APIs (application programming interfaces).

In stark contrast, Rackspace insists the Rackspace Cloud depends on a completely open underlying code base — OpenStack. Rackspace is now reaching out to startups, software teams and IT organizations to promote its latest cloud solutions.

Rackspace’s Cloud: What’s New, What’s Coming

Called the Rackspace Next Generation Public Cloud, the OpenStack-based offerings will ramp up smoothly over time — starting with “limited availability” now. The services include:

  • Cloud Servers, powered by OpenStack – based on the latest OpenStack compute release. Rackspace will begin providing access on May 1.

  • Cloud Control Panel – the new Control Panel features multiple enhancements, including server tagging and multi-region capabilities.

Also, Rackspace said the following products are in “early access,” as they are production workload ready but have limited support available, no service commitments and no billing. Those early access services include:

  • Cloud Databases, powered by OpenStack – gives customers API access to a scalable, high availability MySQL database that is based on SAN storage and provides automated management of common database tasks.

  • Cloud Monitoring – helps customers monitor their infrastructure and applications proactively, including OpenStack Clouds.

Plus, the following products are in “preview,” which means Rackspace is inviting customers to test the early version of these products.

  • Cloud Block Storage, powered by OpenStack – this new solution gives customers a choice between a high performance (leveraging solid state disks) or a standard lower-cost block storage solution.

  • Cloud Networks, powered by OpenStack – this solution is designed to allow customers to manage logically abstracted network services programmatically.

The services above do not replace Rackspace’s existing cloud capabilities such as:

  • Cloud Files (powered by OpenStack) object storage for files and media;

  • Cloud Load Balancers;

  • On and Off-premise Private Clouds (powered by OpenStack);

  • CDN;

  • Cloud Sites;

  • and the ability to connect cloud, dedicated and on-premise deployments via RackConnect.

Disclosure: Talkin’ Cloud runs in the Rackspace cloud. We’re curious to see how Rackspace’s continuing OpenStack initiatives potentially bolster our site performance and business options.

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