Hosting firm Rackspace has made its updated cloud computing infrastructure generally available to all comers, claiming it as the first production-ready public cloud powered by the open-source OpenStack framework.
Dubbed the Open Cloud powered by OpenStack, the new infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) platform was announced back in April, but has been undergoing testing as part of an early access programme for select customers until now.
US customers will be able to sign up to access the service immediately, while UK customers will get their chance in a couple of weeks, Rackspace said.
The new platform effectively replaces the existing Cloud Servers with a comparable service powered by the OpenStack Compute, along with a re-vamped user portal, enhanced monitoring system, and the Cloud Database service based on MySQL.
Rackspace claims that with the new platform, it has the second largest public cloud in the market and the largest implementation of OpenStack in the world.
"This is the opening of the battle between open and proprietary standards, with Rackspace against Amazon or Google, or VMware to a certain extent," Rackspace vice president of cloud Fabio Torlini told V3.
With the OpenStack-based infrastructure, customers can expect better performance with server build times about 2.5 times faster, while the switch to production status now allows customers to create up to 1,000 servers per day up from the previous 50, Torlini said.
Meanwhile, the new Control Panel gives IT administrators and developers an intuitive user interface for controlling all of the new features, making complex, large-scale cloud deployments much simpler, according to Rackspace.
But other features are still in the pipeline, including Cloud Networks, which will enable customers to build their own virtual networks in the Rackspace cloud and link them to on-premise infrastructure using a VPN connection.
Also coming is a Cloud Block Storage service, which will provide customers with block storage volumes, available in two different grades hosted on either high-speed solid state disk (SSD) or standard rotating disk media.
These two are in preview now, not quite ready to go live, but are expected sometime before the year's end, Torlini said.
Rackspace is pushing the benefits of OpenStack, pointing out that the open-source platform is gaining popularity among organisations for private cloud builds.
With its new Open Cloud also powered by OpenStack, such organisations will find it much easier to create a hybrid cloud using their on-premise resources and the Rackspace cloud, the firm said.
Despite this, Rackspace will continue to support customers with VMware-based private cloud infrastructure hosted in its datacentres, according to Torlini. Even those on the current Xen-based Cloud Servers will have access to the platform for at least a year, while Rackspace creates tools to make their transition easier.
"We don't want to force customers to migrate across, we want them to take their time. We think they will want to, because they will need to if they want to take advantage of Cloud Block Storage," he explained.
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