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Rackspace Launches The Open Cloud

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By Sue Poremba

Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

“The promise of the cloud is speed and choice. It’s changing every aspect of our lives.”

Lew Moorman, president of Rackspace Hosting, made that statement at GigaOm Structure in June 2012. Yet, he continued, while speed has come a long way, with the advent of instant computing, choice has not been so robust.

However, that is about to change with the launch of the open cloud.

On August 1, Rackspace unveiled the unlimited availability of Cloud Databases and Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack, along with a powerful and elegant new Control Panel. Or, as Quentin Hardy pointed out in his New York Times blog, Rackspace’s public cloud is now running solely on open-source software, so Rackspace “can come up with new software features faster than its peers because open source software is created by thousands of programmers outside the company.”

The open cloud is here and now.

The shift to the open cloud is largely about choice. Choice, Moorman told the GigaOM Structure audience, is about not having to be tied down to a regional provider, special features that can improve your company’s service, a cost arrangement that works best for you, and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to customize your cloud, which can have a major impact on cost structure.

“When you have an application that is running on a massive scale or in a very specific use case, the ability to customize the underlying architecture has huge implications to the economics,” Moorman said.

With an end-to-end, open and scalable cloud, users will have the ability to be truly portable, Moorman pointed out. “When you have access to the entire code base, you can run it anywhere,” he told the GigaOM audience. “And this is why we started OpenStack.”

Rackspace is already building features around the OpenStack code, and developers from around the world are following that lead. So far, over 180 companies have committed to the OpenStack project. OpenStack is also openly extendable, which means open-source projects and enterprise vendors can plug-in.

“Rackspace is disrupting the current model of how IT is consumed,” Lanham Napier, CEO of Rackspace said in a release. “We have delivered on our promise to implement OpenStack in our cloud offerings, and to free customers from the vendor lock-in that they face at other major cloud providers. We’re delivering open, high-performance, scalable and easy-to-use cloud solutions, while empowering customers to choose features, services, prices and locations based on the needs of their business. At the heart of Rackspace is Fanatical Support, which means we put our customers’ needs and wants first. Today, we are extending this approach by giving the market an open alternative, enabling them to choose how and where they use the cloud.”

The promise of the cloud is speed and choice. Speed has been there. Starting now, with OpenStack, Rackspace fully offers choice.

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