Rackspace Hosting is confident with its OpenStack wares to start its internal rollout of the software underpinning its Cloud Servers, Cloud Files and other services. Initially, Rackspace is putting out a Cloud Server and a Cloud Control Panel management console in “limited availability”, meaning it is slowly providing the services to existing customers over an undisclosed period of time. This is to “ensure a smooth ramp-up”, the company said. In addition, it is offering some customers the ability to test preview versions of Cloud Block Storage and Cloud Networks, but these technologies come with no support. By doing this Rackspace is beating Hewlett-Packard to the market with the first big public cloud based on the “Essex” release. They are one of the two founders of the OpenStack cloud fabric project along with NASA. HP are planning to put the Essex code out as the underpinning of its HP Cloud Services as a public beta beginning May 10th, they have not made any commitments as to when its OpenStack-based public cloud will go into production.
Rackspace is a bit more familiar with the OpenStack code, and while the company’s heads have been careful about getting ahead of itself in making promises, Mark Interrante, vice president of products at Rackspace said “that after an undisclosed number of beta testers put the OpenStack code through the paces with Rackspace’s Cloud Servers and Cloud Files services, the company will start offering OpenStack-backed compute and storage cloud services to customers beginning May 1.”
The switch to OpenStack for the Cloud Files service is not much of a big deal, since the code behind Cloud Files was developed by Rackspace (and formerly known as CloudFS). 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. (The Essex code also includes three other modules: the Horizon administration dashboard, the Keystone identity manager, and the Glance image service.)
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. At the moment, the database service can run atop Cloud Servers with the old Rackspace code or the new Nova controller. 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. You can 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.
At present there is no word on when the database, block storage, and virtual network services will be ready for primetime.
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