Rackspace previously let customers segment systems using vLANS, but Engates says vLANs have limitations on the number of networks that can be created. With the new SDN architecture within Rackspace's data centers, there's no limit to the number of networks that can be created, allowing Rackspace to offer the ability for customers to create as many of their own networks as they want.
In addition to the SDN capabilities announced today, Rackspace has rolled out various other new features in the past few weeks. Last week, for example, it announced a partnership with Hortonworks, which specializes in and deploying and supporting Hadoop clusters. The service is initially available to spin up Hadoop clusters in Rackspace's hosting division, but the plan is to create a cloud-based Hadoop service, Engates says, by early next year.
Rackspace also introduced a block storage service based off code from the OpenStack community and a project named Cinder. The service is similar to the Elastic Block Storage offered by Amazon and can be used by customers as an auxiliary storage service for virtual machines to support databases or other large-volume applications.
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.