A few hours ago, Rackspace had just announced the first “productized” Rackspace Private Cloud solution based on OpenStack. According to Openstack.org,
OpenStack OpenStack is a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. The project aims to deliver solutions for all types of clouds by being simple to implement, massively scalable, and feature rich. The technology consists of a series of interrelated projects delivering various components for a cloud infrastructure solution. Founded by Rackspace Hosting and NASA, OpenStack has grown to be a global software community of developers collaborating on a standard and massively scalable open source cloud operating system. Our mission is to enable any organization to create and offer cloud computing services running on standard hardware. Corporations, service providers, VARS, SMBs, researchers, and global data centers looking to deploy large-scale cloud deployments for private or public clouds leveraging the support and resulting technology of a global open source community. All of the code for OpenStack is freely available under the Apache 2.0 license. Anyone can run it, build on it, or submit changes back to the project. We strongly believe that an open development model is the only way to foster badly-needed cloud standards, remove the fear of proprietary lock-in for cloud customers, and create a large ecosystem that spans cloud providers.
And Openstack just turned 1 year old.
So, what’s this Rackspace private cloud about?
In the existing cloud economy, customers subscribe from a cloud service provider. The customer pays a monthly (usually) subscription fee in a pay-as-you-use-model. And I have courageously predicted that the new cloud economy will drive the middle tier (i.e. IT distributors, resellers and system integrators) in my previous blog out of IT ecosystem. Before I lose the plot, Rackspace is now providing the ability for customers to install an Openstack-ready, Rackspace-approved private cloud architecture in their own datacenter, not in Rackspace Hosting.
This represents a tectonic shift in the cloud economy, putting the control and power back into the customers’ hands. For too long, there were questions about data integrity, security, control, cloud service provider lock-in and so on but with the new Rackspace offering, customers can build their own private cloud ecosystem or they can get professional service from Rackspace cloud systems integrators. Furthermore, once they have built their private cloud, they can either manage it themselves or get Rackspace to manage it for them.
How does Rackspace do it?
From their vast experience in building Openstack clouds, Rackspace Cloud Builders have created a free reference architecture. Currently OpenStack focuses on two key components: OpenStack Compute, which offers computing power through virtual machine and network management, and OpenStack Object Storage, which is software for redundant, scalable object storage capacity.
In the Openstack architecture, there are 3 major components – Compute, Storage and Images.
More information about the Openstack Architecture here. And with 130 partners in the Openstack alliance (which includes Dell, HP, Cisco, Citrix and EMC), customers have plenty to choose from, and lessening the impact of lock-in.
What does this represent to storage professionals like us?
This Rackspace offering is game changing and could perhaps spark an economy for partners to work with Cloud Service Providers. It is definitely addressing some key concerns of customers related to security and freedom to choose, and even change service providers. It seems to be offering the best of both worlds (for now) but Rackspace is not looking at this for immediate gains. But we still do not know how this economic pie will grow and how it will affect the cloud economy. And this does not negate the fact that us storage professionals have to dig deeper and learn more and this not does change the fact that we have to evolve to compete against the best in the world.
Rackspace has come out beating its chest and predicted that the cloud computing API space will boil down these 3 players – Rackspace Openstack, VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Interestingly, Redhat Aeolus (previously known as Deltacloud) was not worthy to mentioned by Rackspace. Some pooh-pooh going on?