Rackspace Adds New Features To Support Private Clouds


Rackspace Hosting has rolled out new features for its open source private cloud software, which is powered by OpenStack.

The main enhancement involves a new interface for deployment, configuration and operation. The new OpenCenter interface is intended to simplify these functions by making them executable on a point-and-click basis.

"We launched Rackspace Private Cloud about six months ago as a free, open source, portable version of our public cloud that includes all of the components and configuration necessary to turn vanilla OpenStack code into a Rackspace cloud," said Scott Sanchez, director of strategy for Rackspace Private Cloud. "We're now following that up with an operations fabric that allows us to simplify execution as well as accelerate new features that we want to add over time."

[Related: Rackspace Acquires ObjectRocket, Cuts Bandwidth Prices]

The first example is High Availability, in which OpenCenter provides API operation of high availability environments for the OpenStack controller nodes.

"We've been able to do high availability in the OpenStack controller environment up to now, but it was only available through manual execution of scripts and configuration," he said. "This makes it a point-and-click exercise, and OpenCenter will do the calculations and put all that together for you and turn it into a high-availability compute controller environment. And, there's a full set of APIs so that if the customer prefers a different management console, they could still take advantage of all the automation and do it with the tool of their choice."

Although the Rackspace Private Cloud is available free of charge, a substantial number of customers pay the San Antonio-based cloud provider for incremental services around supporting operation, which Sanchez describes as his company's "sweet spot." The offering can run on a variety of host operating systems, including Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS. Rackspace has already issued more than 1,375 code releases and more than 8,400 corresponding unit tests, without customer disruption. The company also reports roughly 465 million API requests for cloud servers.

"We are an operator first. We run clouds," said Sanchez. "So we know what it takes to make this stuff work and scale. This is the key reason why our customers are coming to us and asking us to help them with this journey. So, we deliver the whole package of software, hardware, operations and support."

PUBLISHED MARCH 6, 2013