Rackspace Launches OpenStack Cloud Services

Cloud storage

Rackspace is initiating a major OpenStack push, building on the project it started in 2010

Rackspace has launched a host of products based on OpenStack, the open source project the cloud vendor launched with NASA in 2010.

OpenStack consists of different pieces of code, which many vendors hope will become standards for varying cloud services, so they can hook up with one another.

Rackspace’s “next generation” of cloud services that run on OpenStack code include Cloud Servers, Cloud Databases, Cloud Block Storage, Cloud Networks, Cloud Monitoring and a Control Panel, Rackspace announced today.

cloud computing © Beboy - Fotolia.comRacking up the services

Rackspace is essentially porting its products across to the OpenStack platform, whilst launching some fresh services, making it the largest OpenStack implementation on the market. A number of the vendor’s products are already based on OpenStack, including its storage offerings. Rackspace’s adoption of the OpenStack compute code, for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is new, however.

The move pushes Rackspace into greater competition with its close rival Amazon. Rackspace claimed it is “drawing a line in the sand against proprietary cloud providers” like Amazon, as it hopes the OpenStack framework will attract those wanting to shift data between different data centres and even across different cloud services.

Fabio Torlini, vice president of cloud at Rackspace, said the company’s product set was “really closing the gap with Amazon from an enterprise perspective.”

“We compete very successfully at the SMB level and with these product changes coming on board, it really closes the gap from products from us and people like Amazon,” Torlini said. “Having products based on OpenStack it means several things. It means companies can build their own private cloud on OpenStack, they can choose to build a private cloud with us, they can choose to go for public cloud or go for a combination of any of those. That just gives companies an amazing amount of flexibility which they can’t get with any other solution.

“It is very easy to transition from OpenStack cloud to OpenStack cloud. Transitioning from Amazon to everybody else is more difficult, as is moving from an OpenStack cloud to an Amazon one.”

With this major OpenStack push, Rackspace is entering the database-as-a-service market for the first time, claiming its MySQL service would help run databases 82 percent quicker than if they were run on a non-optimised server. Amazon already has its cloud-delivered Relational Database Service, and launched a NoSQL option called DynamoDB in January.

OpenStack arguments

OpenStack, despite the support it has gained across the industry, has lost some backers. Citrix said it was ditching its Olympus OpenStack project earlier this month. “While Citrix remains supportive of the intent behind OpenStack and will continue to integrate any appropriate technologies into its own products as they mature, Citrix has been disappointed with the rate of progress OpenStack has made over the past year,” the company said.

Citrix started distancing itself from the platform when it bought OpenStack rival CloudStack after it acquired Cloud.com in July 2011.

Torlini told TechWeekEurope the industry was still positive about OpenStack’s progress. “The progress that OpenStack is making in the market, you can see why we’re still backing it 100 percent. It is a proven platform,” Torlini said.

“What Citrix are trying to say is that OpenStack isn’t production ready, whereas their own product is. But I think the fact that we’re launching our prodcuts on OpenStack proves it is ready and we’re not the only ones. There are going to be plenty of other large OpenStack members who will be launching OpenStack powered clouds very, very soon.”

Cloud Servers, powered by OpenStack, will be opened up on 1 May, although there is currently limited availability on the service. Cloud Databases and CLoud Monitoring are in “early access”, but have limited support available, no service commitments and no billing. The Block Storage and Networks products are in preview, meaning customers can try them out right now.

Full production for all services is expected in the third quarter. Rackspace is planning to migrate non-OpenStack customers over to the new services in the coming months.

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