Rackspace Moves OpenStack Product Lineup To Public Cloud

In a step it believes will bring OpenStack cloud services to a much larger customer base, Rackspace on Wednesday moved its portfolio of new and updated OpenStack products out of private beta and into general availability, giving customers the ability to create public clouds with Rackspace infrastructure.

Among the products now available are Rackspace’s Cloud Databases and Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack, as well as its updated Control Panel.

Rackspace’s move represents the first large-scale deployment of an OpenStack-powered public cloud, according to the company. Customers using Rackspace infrastructure can now choose public, private or hybrid clouds.

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Rackspace said that moving its products to the OpenStack standard on public clouds will be an important step for OpenStack and Rackspace to offer mainstream cloud services to customers.

’This is the culmination of a couple of years work to get it ready for prime time, and get ready for large-scale or small-scale public or private clouds,’ said John Engates, Rackspace CTO. ’This is the first time customers can take advantage of a true OpenStack cloud to deploy a private or public cloud.’

Rackspace has until now built private clouds using the OpenStack operating system, Engates said. ’Customers have asked, ’Show us that it [OpenStack] works at scale, in a production environment,’ he explained.

Products now released to general availability include Cloud Servers, Rackspace’s flagship product, which is now accessible via the OpenStack API as well as through Control Panel and Cloud Databases, which offers API access to a scalable, MySQL database.

Also released was an updated control panel, from which all of Rackspace’s open-cloud products can be accessed. The Control Panel is designed to make large-scale cloud deployments more manageable. It can tag servers, databases and websites to identify and organize infrastructure components; search by name, IP address and tag; and filter lists to locate servers. It also provides dynamic feedback to give real-time status information about the state of infrastructure.

In April, Rackspace offered the products to a limited amount of customers in an "early access" program or in beta.

Engates said Rackspace intends to make available more OpenStack-compatible products by the end of the year, including Cloud Monitoring, Cloud Networks and Cloud Block Storage.

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Nand Mulchandani, CEO of ScaleXtreme, a San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud systems management company and Rackspace partner, said his company is using Rackspace’s infrastructure to manage cloud services for customers and is finding it easy to use. He said the general release of the OpenStack portfolio will help overall cloud adoption.

’Now, the broader ecosystem of people building OpenStack clouds will be able to get them on the Rackspace platform,’ Mulchandani said.

Tom Lounibos, CEO of Soasta, a Mountain View, Calif.-based Rackspace partner and supplier of cloud-based testing services for Web and mobile applications, said the availability of Rackspace OpenStack products for public clouds will make it easier for businesses that manage cloud services.

Soasta, which is working with the London Olympic Committee to test mobile applications for ticketing and contest results, can work more easily and efficiently with Rackspace as well as other OpenStack cloud providers such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Lounibos said Rackspace’s OpenStack APIs, the application program interfaces that help control and provision cloud resources, will be more interoperable with other technology providers in the cloud and thus make operations easier.

’OpenStack gives us standards so that we don’t have to support so many different APIs that are out there,’ Lounibos said. ’These APIs are important to us and that’s why Rackspace is a trusted partner.’