Rackspace CEO Slams Amazon Web Services


Lanham Napier, the chief executive officer of cloud provider Rackspace, took aim at rival Amazon Web Services Monday, saying Rackspace's OpenStack, open-source standard makes it clearly superior.

"Amazon's proprietary system cultivates customer lock-in," Napier said in an interview. "We think OpenStack will be the technology standard and our fanatical support will be the service standard. We're trying to create a better service."

Rackspace on Monday unveiled a portfolio of new and updated data center products that are designed to improve the performance of its OpenStack cloud platform. The upgraded infrastructure, which Rackspace is calling the "next generation cloud," will be moved almost entirely to OpenStack.

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The products include Cloud Servers, Rackspace’s flagship product, which is now accessible via the OpenStack API as well as a control panel; Cloud Databases, which offers API access to a scalable, MySQL database; Cloud Block Storage, which gives customers a choice of high performance or standard, lower-cost, block storage; Cloud Control Panel, which includes server tagging; Cloud Networks, which manages network services; and Cloud Monitoring, which keeps track of infrastructure and applications.

"In the cloud services world, the arrival of the OpenStack standard will change everything," Napier added. "In the long run, open systems and OpenStack will encourage innovation on a massive scale. There's no denying the wisdom of the crowd."

Rackspace was a co-founder of the OpenStack standard and contributed to its development, but last week turned ownership of it over to the OpenStack Foundation. More than 150 companies are now participating in the project, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Red Hat.

Amazon executives did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Last week, Amazon, considered the largest cloud provider, received a boost when software vendor Citrix withdrew its OpenStack open-source cloud distribution and moved its CloudStack software platform to the Apache Software Foundation, which in turn gives Citrix and its customers greater access to Amazon Web Services.

Channel partners can fare better using OpenStack than proprietary systems, according to Napier.

"For a cloud partner, open is better," he said. "They are in charge of their practice. They can add a lot more value in that program. Amazon is not a value-added service."

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