Rackspace has been in the OpenStack cloud business since day one, being one of the original creators of the open source cloud effort along with NASA. Much of the emphasis in the past for Rackspace was on both private and public cloud offerings, operated from within Rackspace's own data center, but that is now changing. This week, Rackspace announced a new service that brings hardware, software, support and management for OpenStack cloud operations onto a customer's own location.
"Customers can run a fully-managed OpenStack private cloud in any data center around the world without bearing the high cost, risk and operational burden of doing it themselves," Ryan Yard, director of solution engineering at Rackspace, told Datamation.
As part of the new solution, Rackspace also has a server hardware component that is based equipment from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) or the Open Compute Project. Each server rack will include between 22 to 24 servers. For networking, Rackspace is using Cisco, with each rack including multiple 10G connections per server, with a 160G connection between the compute, storage, and the aggregation layer. The actual cloud software is upstream OpenStack, with all the service, support and monitoring from Rackspace.
Yard noted that Rackspace is managing the hardware support, which is delivered through HPE. Rackspace has had multiple forms of private cloud services available in the past, but has not previously managed the hardware pieces for customers on-premises.
"Previously a customer was responsible for managing the power/cooling, connectivity and hardware in their data center and Rackspace would manage the OpenStack software and service," Yard explained. "Now a customer will only be responsible for managing the power/cooling in their data center while Rackspace will manage the connectivity, hardware, OpenStack software and service."
The idea of having a fully managed hardware and software stack for OpenStack is not a new one. Among the multiple vendors that offer a similar type of solution is Bluebox, which was acquired by IBM in 2015. Yard noted that the the Rackspace solution is distinct from other approaches in that Rackspace has engineered its networking solution to extend Rackspace services including network and security engineering, into a customer's datacenter location of choice.
"This allows Rackspace to take responsibility for the management, monitoring, and operations of all the devices in the environment, including the internet routing/connectivity, the aggregation layer, firewalls, load balancers, and server devices," Yard said.
From a cost perspective, Yard noted that the new solution is a monthly charge, which is a similar approach to Rackspace's other OpenStack services.
Rackspace's new private cloud offering comes two months after the company's CEO publicly stated during an earning call that he was shifting engineering effort away from the public OpenStack cloud. While Rackspace is seeing considerable competitive pressures in the public cloud market, the private cloud still represent a growth opportunity for the company.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist