Rackspace Debuts Red Hat OpenStack For Private Clouds

Rackspace may have put OpenStack on the map, but Thursday it introduced to its private cloud portfolio another vendor's version of the open-source technology.

The managed cloud company out of San Antonio is making Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform available to customers and partners deploying private clouds either in Rackspace data centers or on their own premises, according to Bryan Thompson, senior director of product management for Rackspace's OpenStack practice.

The new Rackspace-Red Hat product nexus, envisioned to appeal to customers who like Rackspace's hosting credentials but are committed to the Red Hat technology stack, was revealed at the Rackspace::Solve event in New York.

[Related: 5 Ways Rackspace Is Transforming Its Business Through Cloud Partnerships]

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As Rackspace looked upmarket with its private cloud practice, it saw that many enterprises had already made a technology decision around Red Hat. That makes sense, Thompson said, given that the Raleigh, N.C.-based open-source software company has almost 60 percent of Linux market share among enterprises.

Those organizations have standardized on and are looking for that fully certified Red Hat stack — from hypervisor to guest layer to middleware to application — that they know meets their compliance and security needs, he said.

But they also want the technology delivered as a service, highly available and with world-class technical support.

"Customers are coming to us for that operational experience and expertise. Our real focus is really around deploying and operating these clouds," Thompson said. "We are managing hundreds of thousands of nodes and have a great wealth of experience."

Red Hat's OpenStack distribution, as opposed to the one native to Rackspace, comes with some other perks that Red Hat customers might prefer.

Rackspace's native OpenStack is closely aligned with the OpenStack community, and moves with the OpenStack Foundation's six-month release pace — only backward supporting the version prior to the latest. (Most distributions align with that kind of n-1 support stance.)

"For many enterprise organizations, that rate of change is actually uncomfortable," Thompson told CRN.

Red Hat is unique in offering a long-term support model, he said.

Red Hat OpenStack also includes Platform Director, a tool for life-cycle management, from discovery to provisioning the control plane to provisioning cloud nodes.

Enterprises might also find comfort in the product's tight integration with Red Hat's platform for both block and object storage and its snapshot tools for disk imaging.

The partnership has a lot of history behind it.

Red Hat was an early investor in Rackspace, and the two companies have been formal partners for more than a decade. Red Hat even named Rackspace its Cloud Partner of the Year in 2015.

The two companies have been working together for several months to bring the private cloud option to market as a managed service with a high-availability SLA; the offering comes with a 99.99 percent API uptime guarantee.

With the greatest barriers to OpenStack adoption being the complexity of the technology and lack of expertise, Rackspace sees offering a Red Hat-powered cloud as another way to remove an obstacle to OpenStack implementation and further drive adoption, Thompson told CRN.