Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

October 30, 2012

2 Min Read
Rackspace Unveils Cloud Isolation Technology

Having your own cloud is great. But what if you need to isolate different applications and resources from one another? You could, of course, build multiple clouds. Or you could adopt technologies like Rackspace‘s (NYSE: RAX) new Cloud Networks feature, which supports multi-tiered networks across an Open Stack cloud infrastructure. Here are the details, and what they reveal about future cloud trends.

It’s easy to think of the cloud as the place where everything that doesn’t live locally should be dumped. After all, since the definition of what exactly constitutes cloud computing has always been a bit hazy, the simple conceptualization is to treat the cloud as one lose and wild expanse of infrastructure which doesn’t need much hierarchy or internal organization.

But if that’s your approach, you risk ending up with an amorphous, abstruse amalgamation of different applications and data stores all bungled together. That makes it difficult to ensure things like security and reliability, and it undercuts many of the advantages the cloud is supposed to bring.

Cloud Networks

Recognizing the need for stronger organization and separation of different units inside the cloud, Rackspace has unveiled Cloud Networks. The name might sound a little redundant–isn’t the network already inherently central to the cloud?–but the feature is actually quite innovative and interesting.

It combines open source cloud technology with software-based network switching–an idea that seems long overdue–to allow customers to isolate cloud applications and resources from one another in a scalable, flexible way.

According to Rackspace, Cloud Networks improves the cloud experience in three key ways by allowing users to:

  • Enhance the network security for Cloud Servers by running web application and database servers on an isolated network to filter illegitimate traffic from web server(s).

  • Increase the agility of complex applications by controlling and managing application tiers. Cloud-aware applications can now not only control compute and storage resources, they can create networks and add resources to secure networks as needed.

  • Improve the scalability and ensure the higher availability of your servers by building clusters with broadcast and multicast–supported by Cloud Networks.

Rackspace is currently in the process of rolling out Cloud Networks to users of its existing cloud infrastructure software, with the caveat that the feature will currently be available only in newly created clouds. Support for integrating it into existing Rackspace clouds is in the works for the future, however.

Rackspace’s focus on this area suggests the growing importance of building better organized clouds. The momentum in the cloud computing world typically hs been all about making the cloud more accessible and easier to deploy. Now, as clouds become more and more commonplace, improving their internal organization–and, by extension, their flexibility and security–is likely to become another priority for developers and users going forward.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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