Rackspace Adds Cloud Management With Cloudkick Acquisition

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Rackspace planted its cloud computing flag deeper into the ground on Thursday with the acquisition of Cloudkick, a deal that adds cloud management and monitoring to Rackspace's growing cadre of cloud computing plays.

The acquisition also kicks Rackspace's ongoing competition with Amazon Web Services up a notch, as Cloudkick has historically offered cloud management and portability of cloud infrastructure for both Rackspace and Amazon EC2 environments.

San Francisco-based Cloudkick makes tools that let cloud computing users manage their cloud server environments from a single pane of glass and across multiple providers.

Calling itself a "cockpit for navigating complex cloud environments," Cloudkick's offerings put all the information and controls in a single panel to help developers and system administrators deploy and manage their cloud environments. The dashboard also lets customers manage hybrid infrastructures across both multitenant virtualized servers and dedicated hardware.

"Until now, the cloud has been about automating hardware and making it more agile and efficient," Lew Moorman, Rackspace's chief strategy officer, said in a statement. "But as cloud computing has made it easier to launch servers, companies launch a lot more of them, and use many of them inefficiently -- and even lose track of some. Cloudkick brings order to that chaos and sprawl. It takes cloud computing to a new level: into automation of the work of system administrators. In addition to providing robust cloud health information, Cloudkick enables automation around deployment and scaling. It makes cloud computing more powerful, with less expense."

Cloudkick initially launched two years ago and was funded by Y Combinator. The company currently boasts more than 1,500 business customers ranging from SMBs to large enterprises; and has had more than 1 million servers pass through its solutions.

Cloudkick was also one of the inaugural members in Rackspace's OpenStack open-source cloud computing project.

"We built Cloudkick to make the lives of system administrators easier," Alex Polvi, Cloudkick founder, said in a statement. "With the support of Rackspace we look forward to fulfilling our vision, while getting our tools directly into the hands of customers as they adopt cloud computing."

Rackspace said the Cloudkick buy will help it to deliver better support through new cloud management tools that will be available directly to customers and also as a service via Rackspace. Cloud computing partners and service providers will also be able to leverage Cloudkick's capabilities to monitor and manage their customers' cloud environments.

"Bringing Cloudkick into the Rackspace fold, and integrating its expertise into our own, is a bold step toward ensuring Rackspace's position as the leading global cloud provider for years to come," Moorman added in the statement. "As we continue to deliver Fanatical Support in all that we do, Rackspace now has expanded its team and offerings to make managing IT infrastructure more seamless across various platforms.”

Cloudkick's San Francisco headquarters will also expand Rackspace's footprint, as the San Antonio-based company expects to make Cloudkick's offices a new outpost.

The addition of Cloudkick comes on the heels of Rackspace's launch earlier this week of managed cloud, a new category in its hosting portfolio. It also comes as the OpenStack initiative continues grow and gain traction. In October, Rackspace officially released the first sets of code for the OpenStack cloud computing play.

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