Rackspace, the major public cloud provider, is not ignoring private clouds.
The company today updated its OpenStack-powered private cloud framework, which customers can download for free to spin up private clouds analogous to Rackspace's public cloud in their own data centers behind their own firewalls.
[ In the data center today, the action is in the private cloud. InfoWorld's experts take you through what you need to know to do it right in our "Private Cloud Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Also check out our "Cloud Security Deep Dive," our "Cloud Storage Deep Dive," and our "Cloud Services Deep Dive." ]
Since August Rackspace has offered a private cloud platform, which company officials say is pure OpenStack trunk code -- no forking or branching. "We made a decision to use the exact same packaging this broad community of developers is using, with Rackspace just providing the configurations," says Scott Sanchez, director of strategy for Rackspace's private cloud division.
[UMM.. IS THAT A PRIVATE CLOUD? Forrester: 70 percent of "private clouds" aren't actually clouds | CLOUD SHOWDOWN: Amazon vs. Rackspace (OpenStack) vs. Microsoft vs. Google]
Today's updated version includes a variety of feature enhancements, most notably the addition of Open Center, which Sanchez calls a "fabric" for private cloud operations. This is the API layer, complete with a dashboard that shows the user all of the operations running in the private cloud. It also orchestrates various services together -- compute, storage and networking, for example -- while providing additional tools to automate tasks, such as creating high availability. With Rackspace's "fanatical support" -- a company tag-line for its customer service -- Rackspace representatives can look into this dashboard to help users set up or troubleshoot issues during service calls. The updated system also expands the host operating system from just supporting Ubuntu to now also supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
The bigger point though is that Rackspace is acknowledging customers who want to spin up private clouds in their own data centers instead of, or in addition to, using the public cloud. Amazon Web Services has not done that. "It's what customers told us they want," Sanchez says.