Following a four-month beta period, Rackspace has started offering its hosted servers and databases using the open source OpenStack suite of cloud software.
That OpenStack has been pressed into production use just two years after its launch, "is a great proof point for the maturity of the project," said Jim Curry, head of OpenStack at Rackspace.
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Rackspace currently has over 180,000 customers of its hosted services. The company offers Windows and Linux servers, content delivery network services, and .Net and PHP hosting, all with associated management and monitoring services.
Starting Wednesday, when new customers log into Rackspace to requisition servers, they will interact with Rackspace Open Cloud services, which is based on the OpenStack Nova compute component. Rackspace has run the Swift object storage component of OpenStack for over 2 years for its Cloud Files storage service; it created the technology in-house and then contributed its code when it co-founded the OpenStack project.
Begun two years ago by NASA and Rackspace, the OpenStack project is an effort to create a stack of open source software that can be used to provide IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) cloud services, either to customers or for internal use. The project rapidly gained popularity, attracting at last count the development efforts of over 3,300 programmers and 184 companies.
"When a customer signs up for a new cloud server, it will be powered with Nova cloud computing fabric. Historically, it has been powered using our legacy codebase," Curry said. Rackspace servers are priced from $0.022 per hour (or $16.06 per month) for a Linux server with 512MB of working memory. A Windows server, with 1GB of working memory, starts at $0.08 per hour, or $58.40 per month.
Long-time users of Rackspace may not notice the switch to OpenStack at all, except for the fact they have been provided with a new control panel. Rackspace boasts that this control panel is easier to use, and provides more information. The OpenStack suite will allows users to provision resources much more quickly than they could have through Rackspace's previous console. An administrator can launch as many as 200 servers in 20 minutes.
Users can also tag servers, databases, and other resources so they can be more easily identified and grouped. A searching capability has been added so users can search or filter by name, tag, IP address or some other identifier. The console also provides real-time status information about operational resources.