Rackspace has updated its Private Cloud Software offering to include three new features – OpenCenter, High Availability and Host Operating System Choice. The products can be deployed on Rackspace’s own infrastructure or within the client’s own data centre, with SLAs tailored accordingly. According to the company, the three additional features in the new release of OpenStack, will make running a private cloud simpler and more efficient for customers. Simon Abrams, head of market strategy and insight at Rackspace, told Cloud Pro that OpenCenter is the most important of the three updates. Abrams also stated that OpenCentre allows greater ability to customise the way Private Cloud Software is installed, whereas previously there had been a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The High Availability feature adds additional resilience to the Private Cloud Software, delivering it as a cluster as opposed to a single instance, while Host Operating System Choice allows customers to choose from Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS as the host operating system for their deployments. Jim Curry, senior vice president and general manager of Rackspace Private Cloud, said: “[The Updates] pave the way for Rackspace to bring its continuous integration and deployment expertise from the public cloud arena into private enterprise datacentres. I should point out that there is a tremendous difference between dedicated and shared bandwidth.
Rackspace Hosting, one of the contenders in the fight to take on Amazon's eponymous Web Services division as the dominant public cloud, is finally confident enough in the OpenStack wares to start its internal rollout of the software underpinning its Cloud Servers, Cloud Files, and other services. By doing so, Rackspace is beating Hewlett-Packard to market with the first big public cloud based on the "Essex" release of OpenStack which was released a week-and-a-half ago. HP is planning to put the Essex code out as the underpinnings of its HP Cloud Services as a public beta beginning May 10, and has had compute and storage clouds in a private beta test since last September. Interrante says that Rackspace has been testing the Essex release in beta for the past six months, and that the shift to OpenStack will not be particularly noticeable to customers when it happens, except that it can spin up servers anywhere from two to four times faster, is more reliable, and has a much more capable set of APIs from which to monitor and manage servers.
Customers will not be forced to take OpenStack if they sign up for Cloud Servers in May, but by July or so OpenStack will be the default compute cloud at Rackspace and customers will be moved over from the homegrown code to Nova in the ensuing months.
In addition to moving to OpenStack for its cloud, Rackspace is also rolling out a new web-based, self-service management portal for its cloudy customers, called Rackspace Cloud Control Panel. Interrante says the plan is to add other Rackspace services, such as managed hosting, to the control freakery tool so that all Rackspace customers can monitor and manage any service from the same portal. In addition to the basic infrastructure clouds and the stuff to monitor it, which is coming along at Rackspace, the company is also putting out a database service, a block storage service, and a virtual networking service into beta testing. The database service is based on an extension of the Nova cloud controller and the MySQL relational database that has been developed under Project Red Dwarf. The Cloud Block Storage service that also goes into beta testing today is based on the Lunr, a block storage service created by Rackspace that was merged into the Nova controller's volume manager last summer. The software-based virtual network service, which will eventually become an option on the Cloud Server service, is based on the extensions to Open vSwitch virtual switch that have been created by Nicira. No word on when the database, block storage, and virtual network services will be ready for primetime. This guide is designed to assist prospective All Flash Array buyers evaluate the different options.


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Learn about the 6 Tips for Engaging the New Mobile Workforce and how they can make your workers more productive. High Availability OpenCenter provides API or point-and-click deployment and management of high availability environments for the OpenStack controller nodes, to improve up-time and reduce risk. The latest updates to the Rackspace private cloud follow release in February of three new reference architectures, which aim to support enterprise clouds for; mass compute with external storage, mass compute and distributed object storage.
Since then, the organisation claims around 18 per cent of Fortune 100 companies have downloaded it and there have been over 6,000 downloads in 156 countries. They do not have to deep dive into the bits and bytes from a command line interface, although that is still an option as well. This service uses the same multiple twisted pair copper, but bandwidths are usually higher. DS3 is a possibility, but you need to compare costs to see what is a better deal at your particular location. Ethernet over Fiber is the core of many new service providers with regional, national and international footprints. Rackspace is one of the two founders of the OpenStack cloud fabric project along with NASA.
HP has not made any commitments as to when its OpenStack-based public cloud will go into production. Cloud Services is analogous to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and Cloud Files is analogous to Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) – although the two are not compatible with each other. The move to OpenStack for the Cloud Servers offering – which is based on the Nova code contributed by NASA – is a much bigger deal because it really is different. Interrante was not sure at press time how many customers would need to move from Cloud Servers to OpenStack, but the Cloud Server and Cloud File customer bases together have a total of 170,000 customers. The tool is written in Python and dynamic JavaScript, and is free to customers who use either Cloud Servers or Cloud Files. This software is still in early access, and the ability to span multiple data center regions and so server tagging is on the way.
At the moment, the database service can run atop Cloud Servers with the old Rackspace code or the new Nova controller. It also draws from various OpenStack components, including the Glance image service, the Melange IP address management service, and the Quantum network-as-a-service, er, service. OpenCenter offers a centralized GUI (graphical user interface) and API that simplifies and automates the operational activities associated with deploying, managing and maintaining private clouds. One user noted the flexibility Rackspace’s private cloud to support multiple configuration options, including hybrid clouds. The fact is that as long as you choose dedicated Internet access or point to point private lines, you’ll be getting similar performance.


But, that bandwidth has different upload and download speeds and you share what’s available with other users. If available, you can often cut you bandwidth costs in half for symmetrical, dedicated private lines or Internet access.
But, most of the distance to the carrier’s office is handled by SONET fiber, typically OC3.
It’s a rock solid service, but doesn’t upgrade quickly or easily and can be pricey by today’s standards.
If you change your mind or have a greater need later, you can get a bandwidth increase with a simple phone call to you provider.
Even the big legacy carriers are making the move from switched circuit to packet switching technology (Ethernet) because that’s the future.
Red Dwarf wraps MySQL database instances in OpenVZ containers, which are virtual private servers running atop the Linux kernel and which have a shared kernel and file system. That’s still plenty for many businesses, but it gets a bit pricey as you go up in bandwidth.
Maximum bandwidth capability goes down with distance from the originating office, but close-in you can get 25, 30 or 50 Mbps.
As a result, there are a lot more opportunities for Fiber Ethernet service options than traditional fiber services and greater competition. Rackspace has also put out Cloud Monitoring into early access, which is based on the code it got from its acquisition of Cloudkick. This is a much lighter way to virtualize and then cluster MySQL databases instances than using a Xen or KVM hypverisor – according to the Rackers who run the Red Dwarf project – but if you want Xen or KVM, Red Dwarf is open source and you can tweak it to your heart's content. Even so, when you get up to 10 or 100 times the download bandwidth at the same price, it’s a pretty enticing deal.
The Cloudkick cloudy management service was originally designed to reach into Amazon and Slicehost cloud services, and eventually it supported Rackspace Cloud. You can also switch out MySQL for another Linux-compatible database in the service if you want, and Rackspace is welcoming such efforts in the Red Dwarf project – although it may not commercialise them in the Cloud Databases service. Rackspace bought Slicehost in October 2008 and that is one of the underpinnings of its more modern Cloud Server offering today. Rackspace offers training, support or operations expertise to over 100 organizations, including 22 the Fortune 100.



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