Rackspace rolls up OpenStack for private clouds

Just don't call it a distro


Amazon doesn't believe in private clouds, only public clouds and when you get down to it, only its own Amazon Web Services. Rackspace Hosting, which has supported other people's apps for a lot longer than AWS, believes in public clouds just as much as Amazon - enough to start the OpenStack cloud controller project and use the code in its own public cloud.

But Rackspace also knows that companies will not - and sometimes cannot – put all of their applications out on a public cloud. That is why the hosting firm has rolled up a software stack called Private Cloud.

This takes the same OpenStack code rolled out two weeks ago on the Rackspace Cloud Servers public cloud and makes it available for companies to deploy internally on their own iron or - if you want an externally hosted private cloud - dedicated iron in its own data centers.

Jim Curry, formerly in charge of the Rackspace OpenStack cloud builders program, is now general manager of private cloud. In his new job he will help ramp up the use of Rackspace's OpenStack implementation in private clouds and sell adjunct services for those clouds.

Private Cloud is, he says, a product designed to be installed quickly and easily, used by customers running real workloads. Private Cloud is also intended to generate revenues indirectly for Rackspace as it hopes to peddle various managed services to support the OpenStack rollup.

Jim Curry, GM of OpenStack Cloud Builders at Rackspace

Jim Curry, GM of private clouds at Rackspace

"One of the common objections to OpenStack is that it is difficult to get up and running," explains Curry. "A lot of people don't know about the guts of OpenStack, and they don't want to know. We want to make it so a system admin can grab an ISO, plug in a few IP addresses, and have an OpenStack cloud up and running around 30 minutes."

Distro is no go

Curry does not like the word 'distribution' being used to describe the Private Cloud stack, for a number of reasons.

For starters, it is not being certified against a specific set of hardware and moreover, Rackspace is not guaranteeing that any particular Private Cloud release will be maintained for a long time. Once Rackspace gets its rhythm, the expectation is that Private Cloud will get a new release every three months, and when it goes live that is the end of the line for the prior release.

The Private Cloud stack is the same code base that Rackspace uses internally, and in the case of Private Cloud V1 is based on the "Essex" release of OpenStack, which the hoster is now using in production.

The pattern has not been hammered out yet, but Curry says to expect for Private Cloud to lag when the OpenStack releases go final by between 45 and 60 days, since it takes time for Rackspace to harden the code and put it through the testing paces. Once the code is safe, it will be rolled up into a Private Cloud release and be made available for customers to download and put on their own iron in their own data centers for free.

Escalation

With Private Cloud V1, Rackspace is making the code available now and you can buy normal escalation tech support - the company is already providing this service for a bunch of early customers that hired Rackspace to help build their private clouds.

Escalation support currently costs $2,500 plus $100 for every node under management, but Curry warns that the pricing methodology is to be changed. The goal is to get metered pricing for add-on support services that look less like an annual Linux operating system license for patches and tech support and more like the other managed services that Rackspace sells on a monthly, utility-style basis.

With Private Cloud V2, due in the fourth quarter of this year and based on the "Folsom" release of OpenStack due at the end of September, Rackspace will offer a suite of managed services, including monitoring, capacity planning, patching, and upgrading of private clouds based on the OpenStack rollup put together by Rackspace.

So, for instance, you will be able to pay Rackspace to upgrade from V1 to V2 of the software, or to keep V2 patched with the latest updates. You will not be given access to the patches yourself, as Linux distros offer, but rather you will be given the option of letting Rackspace manage the code for you or to wait for each quarterly release and do the upgrades yourself.

Rackspace OpenStack private cloud stack

Rackspace's Private Cloud rollup for OpenStack private clouds

Pricing has not been set for these managed services, according to Curry, but the idea is to get them in line with pricing for managed services for hosting and public clouds that Rackspace already sells. And if customers don't want these add-on managed services, Rackspace is fine with that.

"We give you the software, and if you don't think there's value in the managed services, you can cancel them and that's fine," says Curry. "And you get to keep the software."

Because OpenStack is so new and changing so fast, not all features of the Folsom release will make it into the Private Cloud V2 release at the end of this year, he says.

The "Quantum" virtual networking interface for OpenStack, which was largely developed by OpenFlow pioneer Nicira (soon to be part of VMware), is unlikely to be in the V2 release, for instance. Rackspace will want to do extra testing on this code before letting it loose on its own public cloud as well as private clouds.

Even with OpenStack, Rackspace has never believed that it could differentiate itself from Amazon, VMware, or any other cloud fluffer, based on software alone. True to form, the company is all about the fanatical service, for which it acknowledges that it charges a premium compared to other hosters.

"Software is important," concedes Curry. "But anybody who doesn't think the knowledge of how the software is run is equally important is just crazy."

Private Cloud is available for download here. ®

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Amazon not happy with antitrust law targeting Amazon
    We assume the world's smallest violin is available right now on Prime

    Updated Amazon has blasted a proposed antitrust law that aims to clamp down on anti-competitive practices by Big Tech.

    The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and House Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) is a bipartisan bill, with Democrat and Republican support in the Senate and House. It is still making its way through Congress.

    The bill [PDF] prohibits certain "online platforms" from unfairly promoting their own products and services in a way that prevents or hampers third-party businesses in competing. Said platforms with 50 million-plus active monthly users in the US or 100,000-plus US business users, and either $550 billion-plus in annual sales or market cap or a billion-plus worldwide users, that act as a "critical trading partner" for suppliers would be affected. 

    Continue reading
  • OpenInfra Foundation talks about Directed Funding model for open source projects
    Notes rise of 'pay to play' where companies try to buy way into governance – and says this is not that

    OpenInfra Berlin OpenInfra still has ideas to share, including an intriguing funding model for open source projects the Foundation discussed at its in-person event last week in Berlin.

    The "Directed Funding" initiative – a significant change to how some projects might be funded in the future – is about allowing organizations to fund a specific project rather than seeing their cash spread across projects for which they have no interest.

    Jonathan Bryce, CEO and executive director of the OpenInfra Foundation, told The Register this wasn't a case of following a trend in the open-source world that he described as "this kind of pay to play-type scenario."

    Continue reading
  • Amazon accused of obstructing probe into deadly warehouse collapse
    House Dems demand documents from CEO on facility hit by tornado – or else

    Updated The US House Oversight Committee has told Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to turn over documents pertaining to the collapse of an Amazon warehouse – and if he doesn't, the lawmakers say they will be forced to "consider alternative measures."

    Penned by Oversight Committee members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO) and committee chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the letter refers to the destruction of an Edwardsville, Illinois, Amazon fulfillment center in which six people were killed when a tornado hit. It was reported that the facility received two weather warnings about 20 minutes before the tornado struck at 8.27pm on December 10; most staff had headed to a shelter, some to an area where there were no windows but was hard hit by the storm.

    In late March, the Oversight Committee sent a letter to Jassy with a mid-April deadline to hand over a variety of documents, including disaster policies and procedures, communication between managers, employees and contractors, and internal discussion of the tornado and its aftermath.

    Continue reading
  • HPE Greenlake to power Taeknizon private cloud expansion in UAE
    Isn't this the definition of a middle man?

    Why build a cloud datacenter yourself, when you can rent one from Hewlett Packard Enterprise? It may seem unorthodox, but That’s exactly the approach Singapore-based private cloud provider Taeknizon is using to extend its private cloud offering to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    Founded in 2012, Taeknizon offers a menagerie of services ranging from IoT, robotics, and AI to colocation and private cloud services, primarily in the Middle East and Asia. The company’s latest expansion in the UAE will see it lean on HPE GreenLake’s anything-as-a-service (XaaS) platform to meet growing demand from small-to-midsize enterprises for cloud services in the region.

    “Today, 94% of companies operating in the UAE are SMEs," Ahmad AlKhallafi, UAE managing director at HPE, said in a statement. "Taeknizon’s as-a-service model caters to the requirements of SMEs and aligns with our vision to empower youth and the local startup community.”

    Continue reading
  • Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills
    And no, I'm not throwing out this lawsuit, says judge

    Amazon's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit, brought by one of its senior software engineers, asking it to reimburse workers for internet and electricity costs racked up while working from home in the pandemic, has been rejected by a California judge.

    David George Williams sued his employer for refusing to foot his monthly home office expenses, claiming Amazon is violating California's labor laws. The state's Labor Code section 2802 states: "An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer."

    Williams reckons Amazon should not only be paying for its techies' home internet and electricity, but also for any other expenses related to their ad-hoc home office space during the pandemic. Williams sued the cloud giant on behalf of himself and over 4,000 workers employed in California across 12 locations, arguing these costs will range from $50 to $100 per month during the time they were told to stay away from corporate campuses as the coronavirus spread.

    Continue reading
  • Alibaba Cloud challenges AWS with its own custom smartNIC
    Who'll board the custom silicon bandwagon next?

    Alibaba Cloud offered a peek at its latest homegrown silicon at its annual summit this week, which it calls Cloud Infrastructure Processing Units (CIPU).

    The data processing units (DPUs), which we're told have already been deployed in a “handful” of the Chinese giant’s datacenters, offload virtualization functions associated with storage, networking, and security from the host CPU cores onto dedicated hardware.

    “The rapid increase in data volume and scale, together with higher demand for lower latency, call for the creation of new tech infrastructure,” Alibaba Cloud Intelligence President Jeff Zhang said in a release.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022