By Barry Levine / Data Storage Today. Updated April 17, 2012.
Having helped create OpenStack and the OpenStack Foundation, cloud computing and hosting vendor Rackspace is now expanding its use of the open-source software with its Next Generation Public Cloud services. The company described this move as "drawing a line in the sand against proprietary cloud providers."
The new service will include such offerings as Cloud Servers, Cloud Databases, Cloud Block Storage, Cloud Networks, a cloud Control Panel, Cloud Monitoring, and support for the OpenStack API. Rackspace already uses OpenStack in its Cloud Files object storage and private clouds.
'Open Era of the Cloud'
In a statement, CEO Lanham Napier described the new services as part of the "open era of the cloud," adding that Rackspace is positioning itself "at the forefront of this massive, technological shift."
Targeted markets include innovating startups, independent software vendors looking for a platform for their service offerings, software teams needing a development and testing environment, and IT organizations looking for quick provisioning and efficiency.
The company said it was providing its Cloud Servers and Control in "limited availability" as it ramps up. The Cloud Servers use OpenStack, and are accessible through the new OpenStack API. The new Control Panel has such enhancements as server tagging and multi-region capabilities.
The new Cloud Databases and Monitoring are in "early access," in which they are production workload-ready but currently have limited support, no service commitments, and no billing. The OpenStack-powered Cloud Databases provide API access for the massively scalable MySQL database that features automated management of common database tasks, and SAN storage for high performance.
Cloud Block Storage, with options that include high performance solid state disks and lower-cost block storage, along with Cloud Networks, are currently in preview, with testing of early versions available to customers.
Last week, nineteen technology companies, including Rackspace, announced that they were joining the new, independent OpenStack Foundation as Platinum and Gold members. Other companies include AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Red Hat, Cisco, Dell, and Yahoo.
The aim of the open-source OpenStack cloud OS is that business users can prevent vendor lock-in, increase flexibility in deployment for a highly elastic commodity cloud, offer a larger and more robust ecosystem than what might otherwise be available, drive greater industry standards, and increase the speed of innovation for cloud technologies.
All of OpenStack's code is freely available under the Apache 2.0 license, meaning that anyone can run it, build on it, or submit changes.
In summer of 2010, hosting provider Rackspace announced it was opening up the code for its cloud infrastructure, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said it would provide its Nebula cloud technology to the initiative.
Nebula was an open-source cloud computing project and service for providing an alternative to additional data centers for NASA scientists and engineers. It was first developed in 2008 at the NASA Ames Research Center, and it became a cornerstone of the OpenStack initiative.