Rackspace says it is now offering customers the ability to create customized virtual networks in a public cloud, using software defined networking-like capabilities.
Rackspace today announced Cloud Networks, which will let customers create multiple networks, or tiers of networks when spinning up cloud-based virtual machines. CTO John Engates says customers can now set up individual networks to support Web servers, application servers and databases through a virtualized layer 2 network, for example.
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SDN PRIMER: Tech explainer - Software defined networking
Traditionally Rackspace has offered either a public or private network for customers, using vLANS (virtual Local Area Networks) separating customers using firewalls. In a blog post on the company's website, Rackspace announced what Engates calls a "true layer 2 isolation in the cloud."
Cloud Networks incorporates IP from the OpenStack Quantum project, which is focused on virtual networking. Rackspace is running Open vSwitches inside its hypervisors to support the capability. The feature is only available in new OpenStack-powered clouds within Rackspace's offering, but Engates says the company hopes to roll out the service for customers to use Cloud Networks on their own premises. Doing so, he says, would create a common Layer 2 between the customer site and Rackspace's cloud, which Engates says would be a big step toward being able to move workloads between the two in a hybrid cloud.
Engates says the advantage of Cloud Networks is seen most around giving customers the ability to customize their network configurations in their cloud environments. Customers can segment their workloads as they wish to create isolated networks from other customers within Rackspace's cloud or within their own cloud environment. In the example of having separate networks for Web, application and database servers, Engates says the advantage there is that if one of those networks were to be compromised in an attack, it would not necessarily jeopardize the other ones, for example.