Rackspace was one of the founders of the OpenStack cloud computing platform project (together with NASA) and the company has long offered enterprises the option to manage their private OpenStack deployments for them. For the most part, that meant those companies had to build their own hardware and infrastructure, though — and incur the up-front cost of doing so.
Starting today, enterprises and mid-market organizations that want to move to OpenStack for their private cloud deployments will be able to have Rackspace build, monitor and manage their OpenStack clouds from the hardware up to the software stack.
Previously, Rackspace would essentially give them a bill of materials and the companies would then deploy this according to Rackspace’s reference architecture. Now, Rackspace will offer a new service that will have the company set up the necessary hardware (which includes at minimum a networking and either a storage or compute cabinet) according to the same specs the company uses to build its own data centers. Its employees will manage all the aspects of the deployments and help on-board customers to their new clouds. Rackspace offers a 99.99 percent uptime SLA for these customers (though this obviously doesn’t include a power failure in a data center, which the company has little-to-no control over).
As Rackspace GM and VP of OpenStack Private Cloud Darrin Hanson told me, the idea here is to “simplify OpenStack by delivering it as a service with a complete suite of managed services.” While plenty of businesses want to use OpenStack, it’s hard to find the right talent to do so — and even then, an OpenStack deployment is a complex task. Hanson argues that this new service allows them to bypass this talent crunch and reduces the barrier of entry.
Rackspace will install these new private clouds in virtually any data center in the world, but the company also partnered with Equinix to make deployments in that company’s data centers even faster and easier.
As Hanson also told me, the company is launching this new service with a focus on OpenStack, but in the long run, the plan is to extend this to other services and platforms, as well (think a fully managed Hadoop install, for example).