Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rackspace Comes to Australia...and Brings Our OpenStack Solution Too!

This week, Rackspace opened our latest data center in Australia.  You might think this marks our entry into the country, but we have actually been there for some time.  Throughout our history we have had a large number of Australian companies serving their customers and markets from our other data centers, and in particular in our Hong Kong facility.  In 2009, we setup a permanent team of Rackers in Australia to serve those customers lead by the awesome Mark Randall (@racker_randall).  With this investment, and the rollout of our cloud portfolio, the demand from the market for us to have a local data center rapidly grew; hence opening the new data center this week.

So what about Rackspace’s OpenStack offerings?

We support customers' OpenStack private clouds in any data center they want, not just in Rackspace facilities.  That means any facility, in any country, anywhere in the world.  When we launched our offer in late 2011, we immediately saw strong interest from companies and institutions in the Australian market.  Earlier this year we started helping Australian companies and institutions with OpenStack private clouds, and delivered our OpenStack training program to Aussies eager to get up to speed on the project.  The market response isn’t surprising given the strong presence of OpenStack in the market already.   Companies like Aptira and projects like NeCTAR have led the way.  We are now excited to up our presence in the country as well.

For Australians interested in having Rackspace support their OpenStack private cloud efforts, they now have several options:

1.     Download the Rackspace Private Cloud Software powered by OpenStack and deploy a real and fully open cloud within an hour.  It’s 100 percent open source, 100 percent based on community OpenStack and 100 percent free.  There is nothing to lock you into Rackspace or the software.  Use it on your own, or call us and add support.

2.     Deploy your Rackspace Private Cloud in our new Sydney data center later this year, and have us manage your entire infrastructure – your hardware, network, etc., in addition to your OpenStack cloud.  Learn what Fanatical Support is all about!

3.     Build a hybrid infrastructure – run in your DC and our DC.  And let Rackspace help you with all of it.

4.     Call us about private training on OpenStack, or look for public courses in Australia in the coming months.

I am thrilled to be making this commitment to the Australian market, and look forward to getting know the community there even better in the coming years.

Jim Curry

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stand Up And Run A Rackspace Private Cloud In Less Than An Hour…For Free

Deploying a private cloud shouldn’t be so complex and expensive, or require a cloud expert to make it happen. In the two years since we founded OpenStack®, one of our missions has been to create fast and easy ways for our customers to deploy a free OpenStack-based cloud wherever they choose.  And to do so not using a proprietary installer or version of OpenStack, but instead using the community bits themselves. In other words, we think it’s critical that the OpenStack community version be usable.

And today, with the launch of Rackspace Private Cloud Software powered by OpenStack (code-named “Alamo”), we’ve done just that. We’ve made it quick and easy to deploy an OpenStack-powered cloud anywhere with packaged and tested software that customers can download and install, that lets them run an OpenStack-based private cloud in minutes. The cloud is fully configured and ready to use either in your data center or in ours on gear hosted by us. And the best part: the software is free; you can rapidly spin up and use an OpenStack-based Rackspace Private Cloud – a cloud that runs the same software that Rackspace uses to power our public and private clouds — at no cost.
Alamo gives our customers what they’ve been asking for; a simple way to start using OpenStack today, without the added headache of having to worry about dozens of different configurations. They don’t need to be OpenStack or cloud experts. We’re giving them an open cloud environment that marries the speed and scalability of our OpenStack-based public cloud with the control and reliability of a private, dedicated cloud environment. It delivers on our promise to offer our customers the ability to deploy a cloud anywhere. It’s not a separate distribution so you don’t have to worry about a branching dead-end.
The Alamo software allows companies of any size to use our open cloud technology to leverage cloud computing in whatever environment they want. It rounds out the Rackspace open cloud portfolio: we now offer truly open public and private cloud solutions powered by OpenStack. Because it’s open, customers have choice and control without the risk of technology and vendor lock-in that comes with proprietary clouds and hefty software licenses.  It’s the easiest way to start using OpenStack.
And on top of Alamo we’re offering customers our award winning Fanatical Support, whether the cloud is in our data center or yours. Companies running the software have free access to support forums and can purchase Escalation Support, which includes 24×7 ticket and phone support, from Rackspace.
The configuration includes the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS host operating system, a KVM hypervisor and the 100 percent open source Essex release of OpenStack, which includes features such as Compute, Images, Authentication and Dashboard. To streamline the deployment, we have designed the installer for private clouds of up to 20 nodes. Our software provides a platform to begin using OpenStack quickly and then scale out resources to support a larger private cloud environment. This is a great opportunity to leverage Rackspace for cloud management best practices.
And this is just the beginning. In coming months you can expect tighter interoperability with our public cloud and more options for Fanatical Support in your private cloud environments. Future versions of the software will also tie into other OpenStack projects and deliver functionality, including better Management and Monitoring, Volume and Block Storage, Software Defined Networking, High Availability and integration with the new Rackspace Cloud Control Panel.
So download the software and get started with Alamo, Rackspace’s Private Cloud Software. We’re here to answer any questions you may have.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rackspace: We Run Your Cloud For You – Anywhere You Want

One of the clear challenges facing the companies developing solutions around OpenStack is balancing general market education about the project with specific messaging about the commercial offers.  We spend significant time with customers talking about the OpenStack project, and too little on how we can help them use OpenStack as part of their IT architecture today.  Don’t get me wrong – we would love to spend every minute talking to customers about why we started OpenStack, why we love it and how great the community is; but we also help customers power their business with OpenStack.  I would like to explain what Rackspace is doing with OpenStack and how our customers are leveraging our expertise.

Last fall, we announced Rackspace Cloud:  Private Edition.  It’s a long name and doesn’t roll off the tongue, but it was meant to convey a simple concept:  Rackspace will run a cloud for you anywhere – in our datacenters, in a customer’s datacenter, in a colocation facility, or in any combination.  It’s the ultimate managed private cloud –- you don’t have to worry about your cloud because we will take care of it for you.

 To be clear, this is NOT a software offering:  this is world-class operations and support.  We use OpenStack as the core component of our offering, but there is nothing unique about what we deploy.  Today, it’s based on our own packaging of the code at, but longer term it will include third-party distributions as well (see further down).  What customers are buying is Rackspace’s unrivaled expertise in operating clouds.  If for some reason a customer no longer needs our expertise, they can keep the technology and go.  This is the epitome of no vendor lock-in.  This is why we started OpenStack: the core technology is a commodity, but our Fanatical Support is not.

If a customer needs the OpenStack technology and wants to run it themselves, there are great options today.  The first is as easy as getting the code from  The second would be choosing one of the many OpenStack-based distributions, operating systems, or software solutions from companies such as Canonical, Piston, Nebula, StackOps, Cloudscaling, or many others.  These companies provide innovative and opinionated technology around OpenStack, and we look forward to partnering with them in the future.  They all provide OpenStack-based engines for powering clouds.  But choosing this route does not solve the problem of operating your cloud – it’s just the software piece of it.  You still need to add new employees, train your existing ones, or to bring on consultants with the relevant skills.  But if you want someone to operate and support your entire cloud environment for you, then you want Rackspace.  We do support better than anyone – it’s in our DNA.  Or put another way – we take the engine and turn OpenStack into a chauffeured car service for our customers.

Since 1998, Rackspace has run customers’ IT environments for them.  Not just the operating system, but everything up to the application layer (and we are starting to do that, too).  We have traditionally based our solutions on industry standard offerings like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows.  But customers don’t come to us because we offer this software or because there is anything unique about the OS flavors we provide.  They choose us because we give them Fanatical Support and assure the maximum uptime for their environments.

This is exactly what we are doing today with Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, but with one major change: we are providing this support to environments that run in Rackspace datacenters as well as to those that do not.  This is a first for our company.

So what does Rackspace’s Fanatical Support on an OpenStack-based cloud look like?  Here it is at a high level:

1. You get 24/7/365 access to a support team that is both an expert on the solution as well as an expert on YOUR environment.  You can pick up the phone and call or submit a ticket anytime, for anything.  You know your Racker support team’s names, and they know yours.  Our main goal is to keep your environment up and running.

2. It’s as much of a “black box” as you want it to be.  We can handle all the pieces behind the scenes while you simply interact with it via the APIs, administrator control panel or user control panel.  Or you can get under the hood and engage with us to make your cloud operate as you want it.

3. We cover everything from hardware up to the guests.  Our goal is to make the cloud work.  There’s no need to determine if it’s a software or hardware issue, and who is responsible for it.  If it breaks, we fix it. Period.

4. You get access to engineering expertise as well.  We have many of the original developers on the OpenStack project, and everyone on our team is a major contributor to the project.  We know OpenStack.  Want us to develop a new feature for an upcoming release?  No problem.  Need a bug fixed?  We got it.  We can handle all issues up through software engineering.  We combine great operational expertise and traditional software support into one package.

5. Rackspace runs the world’s No. 2 public cloud.  We also run a lot of private clouds.  We have developed the tools to operate and support clouds well. And we have a vast team of experts at the controls.  We have the expertise to know how to do this and do it right.

6. We keep you up to date with the latest innovations in OpenStack.  We offer customers the ability to have their environments upgraded with each major project release.  So you don’t have to worry about when to jump into OpenStack with both feet – we make upgrading easy.

7. We really test this stuff.  Rackspace maintains its own labs for testing our private cloud reference architectures, and we actively collaborate with a variety of hardware and software partners to assure their stuff works.  We also actively lead community testing efforts, and maintain our own continuous integration environment internally.

8. We are committed to training our customers and the general public.  We run public and private training classes on how we deploy and operate OpenStack.  You learn everything about what we do with the technology.  To date, we have delivered these classes in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, and we will continue to expand through certified partners.

9. We are a $1 billion-plus global company with presence in North America, Europe and Asia.  We are closing in on 200,000 customers who have trusted us with their mission critical stuff.  We are here for the long haul.

That is where we are today, but let’s look to the future…

We are rapidly developing the capability to easily run “cloud” wherever a customer wants.  Forget whether it’s public or private.  Imagine being able to connect an OpenStack-based private cloud seamlessly to our OpenStack-based public cloud.  Take it further and connect your dedicated resources – compute, storage and network.  From there you’ll be able to seamlessly manage it all through a fully integrated control panel.  Rackspace will provide fully integrated monitoring, patching, ticketing and more from a single account team.  This is where we are headed…and it starts now.  (we are hiring too!)

We will have much more to say about our progress in the coming months.

Jim Curry

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another Step Forward for OpenStack in Production

Today Mark Interrante, Rackspace’s head of product, announced that the next generation of Rackspace's Cloud Servers, powered by OpenStack Compute (Nova), is moving from Alpha to Beta for customers.  This is a major endorsement of the continuing maturation of OpenStack and its readiness to be deployed today.  Here are a couple of highlights about this launch:
  • Rackspace is running very close to trunk, with basically a two week delta between what the Cloud Servers Beta is deploying and what is available at  This means that anyone has access to the same technology Rackspace is using today.
  • Rackspace is exposing the OpenStack Compute API v2 developed by the community over the past year.
  • This offering is a major step forward in terms of performance.  Mark highlights the ability to rapidly spin up instances and the better performance from the API.  The early demos of the beta have been truly remarkable.
  • Rackspace continues to run OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) in production with its Cloud Files offering, and is actively working on offerings powered by other projects in the OpenStack community.  There is much more to come.
  • Rackspace is continuing to increase its investment in moving the OpenStack community forward.  We are continually adding developers to push the code base forward, and adding our expertise to other community efforts including testing and documentation.

This is offer is not production-ready yet, but it is getting much closer.  Much of the work that needs to get done is specific to Rackspace’s service provider scale.  In the meantime, companies with smaller deployment needs are putting OpenStack into full production today.  We expect to see that pace continue to accelerate.

Congrats to Mark and the entire Rackspace team!

Jim Curry