Rackspace is moving beyond its own walls to help others deliver and deploy cloud solutions. Rackspace is one of the leaders behind the open source OpenStack cloud platform effort.
The Rackspace Cloud Edition will provide datacenters with an OpenStack cloud that has the operational support and managed services backing of Rackspace.
“Rackspace Cloud Private Edition is a set of reference architectures based on our own real world experience operating one of the largest clouds out there,” Mark Collier, vice president of marketing and business development at Rackspace told InternetNews.com. “On an ongoing bases we’ll also have managed services for OpenStack, helping people to operate and run clouds based on our experience.”
In just over a year of existence, OpenStack has become a major force in the world of cloud computing. Initially OpenStack was started by Rackspace together with NASA and today has over 90 contributing member companies. The most recent OpenStack release, codenamed Diablo, was unveiled in September and includes new networking and scheduling capabilities.
While OpenStack is a software release, the Rackspace architecture does mention both server and networking hardware. Collier noted that the reference architecture recommends using Dell C-Series servers and Cisco for the networking gear. That said, Rackspace is a member of the Facebook-led Open Compute initiative as well, which is building out open hardware to help improve datacenter efficiency.
“We’re trying to take our commitment to openness beyond just the software and really start to go out to the market and identify other hardware configurations that we know will work,” Collier said. “So when we turn around and help people operate OpenStack clouds, we’re confident that we can do our job as the managed services for OpenStack piece.”
On the managed services side, Collier said that over the years, Rackspace has developed a lot of tools to help remotely manage clouds. He noted that remote management is something that Rackspace understands well from their own day-to-day operations.
“The vast majority of Rackspace employees never set foot in our datacenter,” Collier said. “We own the datacenters and we control the facilities but because of the abstraction of the cloud model, there is less need to actually have a physical presence in the datacenter.”
For example, Collier said that on the storage side there is enough replication within a datacenter cloud environment that if there is a storage failure it’s not a critical event. An administrator can take their time to replace the failed device.
“As we see the cloud revolution taking off and that technology reducing the need to physically be in the datacenter, we can take those types of tools that we used today to operate our cloud and use them in customer environment to help them run their own clouds,” Collier said.