In the past, having a private cloud typically meant you had offsite hardware managed by a host, or a full-time IT team on hand to handle on premise hardware, however thanks to Rackspace companies are now able to have the security of an on-premise private cloud while receiving the industry leading support and guidance of Rackspace Cloud Builders. By providing customers with the option of utilizing: Rackspace datacenters, partner datacenters, or most commonly a customer chosen data center, Racksapce is now moving from being a traditional web host to an on-call IT support firm.
While the change from a controlled environment to “real world” setups might sound daunting, an interview with Scott Sanchez, Director of Business Development for Rackspace Cloud Builders, greatly helped to clarify the many questions enterprises and information technology professionals have had about the major initiative from the vendor.
Bringing the Cloud to You
- Although Open Stack can technically run on a wide array of hardware, to qualify for Rackspace support, your servers must conform to the specifications at ReferenceArchitecture.org
- The requirements at Reference Architecture are intended to ensure a reasonably standard environment for Rackspace clients regardless of server location
- The main objective of Rackspaces’ Open Stack is to provide the same level of support to Rackspace clients regardless of where their servers are located.
- Rackspace Cloud Builders allows Rackspace to help assemble the necessary hardware on your premises, while also handling management tasks remotely
- When asked about the transition to supporting both controlled and outside environments rather than just their own data centers, Sanchez said it has not been an issue due to the publication of standardized required specifications
- According to Sanchez, although Open Stack can be used by smaller companies looking to test their own private environments, the ideal demographic is larger companies with significant infrastructure investment
Proven Track Record
- Despite Open Stack only being sixteen months old, it has been adopted by computing giants such as: Sony and their PS3 Network, PayPals’ X Commerce Platform, and The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
- Additionally, Open Stack boasts a development network of over 130 participating companies and over 150 developers
- Interestingly, Sanchez mentioned that many of the major corporate users of Open Stack devote some of their development efforts towards contributing back to the open stack community as new features are added and improvements are made
- This model does not just benefit the community at large, but enterprises also benefit since their contributions help shape the project. Additionally it prevents them from being at the mercy of a single company for development direction.
- Open Stack operates on a six month development cycle which is based on clearly marked milestones, helping to simplify the logistics of knowing how an update will affect the existing systems
- Although having a six month deployment cycle has been of concern to many, Sanchez mentioned that with the Diablo release (latest version) of the software, the foundation has become much more solid than the earlier phases
- Analogous to building a house. It takes awhile for the foundation to solidify before you can begin branching out and adding additional features.
- In addition to starting with a full deployment, Sanchez mentioned that some companies who are concerned about the early stages of Open Stack simply start with the latest version, but don’t go to production until later versions come out
- Unlike many Linux distros which have bleeding edge, stable, and legacy version support, Open Stack only maintains their latest editions allowing them to focus on the present rather than having to support various variants of the platform
- When asked if Rackspace has any plans to adopt a deployment cycle similar to Linux distro’s, Sanchez said there are no plans to change the model as it is already sufficient.
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