Rackspace Puts OpenStack Cloud In SI's Hands, Any Data Center

the OpenStack open source cloud

The San Antonio-based cloud giant on Monday unveiled its network of Certified Deployment Partners. At its launch, the network of partners includes systems integrators CloudTP, MomentumSI and TeamSun. These partners can build clouds using a newly-launched OpenStack cloud reference architecture, dubbed Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, said Rackspace Vice President of Business Development and Marketing Mark Collier.

Putting deployments in the hands of SIs is a big step for Rackspace and OpenStack, Collier said, which historically handled the OpenStack cloud deployments itself.

Using the OpenStack cloud reference architecture, systems integrators can deploy OpenStack clouds in any data center, including customer data centers, Rackspace data centers and key Equinix data centers globally.

And Collier said Rackspace won't stop at a team of three SIs deploying OpenStack clouds. Collier said Rackspace will seek to add more integrators to the fold as the program grows. Collier said integrators will receive training for implementing clouds.

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"We definitely want to expand this network," he said.

The relationship won't end at the deployment for integrators, Collier added, noting that partners will continue to be involved in projects through other services offerings such as consulting or app migrations.

Along with offering OpenStack cloud deployments to systems integrators via the Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition reference architecture, Rackspace on Monday also said it will now offer managed services and support for clouds outside of its own data centers, including data centers at customer sites and other third party locations, said Jim Curry, general manager of Rackspace Cloud Builders.

"This is a big step for us … it extends support offerings beyond the data center walls," Curry said.

Curry said Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition goes beyond basic server virtualization and offers several features inherent to public clouds, like instant provisioning through a self-service portal for employees, API access for developers and admin control panels to set quotas and manage usage, in any data center the customer chooses.

As part of Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, Rackspace will support the OpenStack cloud orchestration layer with managed services including OpenStack updates and version upgrades, which Rackspace will perform; performance tuning for optimal cloud performance; system analysis and bug fixes; security patching and hot fixes; support escalation to engineers and developers; and OpenStack training for developers and system administrators.

As part of the Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, Rackspace is also working with Equinix to offer OpenStack clouds in Equinix facilities worldwide. Equinix currently offers 99 data centers in 38 markets, said Vince Dimemmo, general manager of cloud for Equinix.

"We have the capacity for these clouds to be built," he said.

The initial design for the reference architecture is based on OpenStack software configurations and hardware from Cisco and Dell. But Rackspace said it will be expanded in 2012 to include additional technology options, including a collaboration with the Open Compute Foundation, an open cloud project founded by Facebook, Intel and Rackspace. Other technology partners, including Opscode and RightScale are also getting behind the Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition. Rackspace has also added an ecosystem of Technology Partners that will support OpenStack, including Opscode and RightScale.

The Rackspace-led OpenStack open source cloud initiative has gained traction since OpenStack launched roughly 16 months ago.

The now 16-month-old OpenStack initiative, an open source cloud stack launched by Rackspace and NASA, has gained tremendous traction over the past several months. OpenStack is now in its fourth release, called Diablo.

Since its launch in July 2010, OpenStack has drawn more than 120 participating companies, including Cisco, Citrix, Dell and other household names into its community. HP too, has vowed a major commitment to OpenStack. The initiative has more than 1,700 participants and roughly 300 active developers, and has experienced more than 50,000 downloads from its code repository, which doesn't take into account downloads from other sources.

Rackspace recently revealed that it will launch the OpenStack Foundation next year which will handle the project governance and trademark and copyright ownership for the OpenStack cloud.

Collier said the launch of the OpenStack foundation won't interfere with Rackspace's growing network of systems integrators and partners.