Rackspace launched a new networking service that allows users to create hybrid clouds or tiers of virtualized networks that customers can manage depending on their needs and priorities.
The offering, called Cloud Networks, lets customers use software-defined networking technology to build their own clouds on Rackspace's OpenStack platform.
Clouds Networks gives cloud customers the ability to create more flexible, secure, private clouds running Web applications or database servers on an isolated network. The service also lets users manage their applications in the network and control computing and storage needs as needed.
Although the cloud has traditionally been thought of as either public or private, Cloud Networks uses virtual networking company Nicira's Network Virtualization Platform for software-defined networking that lets Rackspace eliminate traditional network bridges and create programmable, secure clouds.
"When we went from dedicated physical networks to our public cloud, we lost the ability to segment these networks," Rackspace CTO John Engates said in an interview with CRN. "We used to have a vLAN. As we moved to OpenStack, we wanted to give our customers the ability to enable segmented networks in the cloud. Cloud Networks gives customers a degree of control over how they build networks in the cloud, whether it's building networks application servers or for Web servers or databases.
"Cloud Networks gives flexibility to build clouds," Engates added. "It puts decisions in the hands of the customer, and they can carve up the networks however they choose. This is a software-defined network, so customers can program their network on the fly."
The ability to use software-defined networking to program isolated clouds and give users more flexibility in designing how they will apportion their resources in the clouds is a step forward in cloud networking, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research, a networking and cloud research firm.
"This is probably the next frontier for cloud providers," Kerravala said. "In the past there was no way for customers to create their own private networks. Now, this virtual networking capability allows customers to bring a wide variety of virtual servers to build their own networks. It provides a lot of different types of private networks than traditional private networks."
PUBLISHED OCT. 30, 2012