A New, Open Era For The Rackspace Cloud

Yesterday kicked off a new era for our customers and the Rackspace Cloud: an era of openness, choice and innovation. It’s been 18 months in the making, and we have officially moved our core cloud technology to OpenStack, the open source cloud operating system that we founded.

Along with that move, we have launched and are soon to launch a host of new products and services that will change how our customers use the cloud.

This is the next evolution of the Rackspace Cloud. It’s new and exciting, and it adheres to the same beliefs and principles that have guided our approach to hosting and cloud computing since we first entered the cloud market with Mosso more than five years ago. Simply put, those principles are:

  1. We believe in building products and services on open technologies that create real choice for our customers
  2. We strive to create great service experiences around those technologies – Fanatical Support, as we call it — that give our customers not only instant access to expert Rackers, but products and services that simplify the use and management of modern computing

We have doubled down on each of these beliefs to deliver Fanatical Support on the open cloud to our customers.

The Rackspace Cloud is now built on OpenStack. As a founder of the effort, we have bet our company on this open source initiative. And we are thrilled with how the industry has embraced it. Now, the second largest cloud in the world is running OpenStack. For you, our customers, this means that you are on a truly open platform. The same code that we run, you can run. So can our competitors. This is real choice and gives our customers control. We view cloud computing as an integrated component to modern application development, and the risk of lock-in is undeniable. The open Rackspace Cloud offers true choice and portability, making lock-in a thing of the past.

The OpenStack codebase is still in its early stages, so it’s changing; and we’re committed to working with the community to ensure interoperability as broadly as possible across the OpenStack ecosystem. We are dedicated to working with the community on all major technologies and interfaces. The outcome will be more choice for our customers.

Another key advantage of running our cloud on OpenStack – and one of its most valuable benefits – is the pace of innovation this open ecosystem will drive. It has taken less than two years to get OpenStack to its current state and to shift our business onto it. The huge community effort advancing the codebase and OpenStack’s many projects guarantees rapid advancement in the future. We have invested incredible engineering energy into a continuous integration system that ensures we remain no more than two weeks off the OpenStack trunk – meaning you get the full benefit of open innovation as soon as it happens.

Rapid innovation is a major theme for Rackspace in this new open cloud era. We just launched our new generation of Cloud Servers, which delivers full IPv6, enhanced scalability and improved performance and stability; and Cloud Databases, a new high performance MySQL database service that introduces automated management of common database tasks.

We also just launched our new Control Panel, which we are especially proud of. The enhanced Control Panel offers new DNS controls as well as management tools like tagging, filtering and searching. It is built on the technology we acquired from Cloudkick and the passion of those Rackers. The Control Panel delivers a powerful, cutting edge management interface with speed and simplicity at the heart of the design. This is just the beginning. We plan to add new services; tie products together; automate tasks; and, frankly, make your life easier. And we want your feedback on it as we advance.

You can expect to see frequent product advances going forward. Security, storage and advanced monitoring and management are just around the corner. And we’re just getting started. I think you will be inspired by all of the great things coming your way and the pace at which they arrive.

And, of course, layered on top of all of these products is our trademark Fanatical Support. We have built our business on open technologies, and creating the best customer experience is how we will continue to earn your business every day. Fanatical Support on the open cloud begins and ends with passionate Rackers backing up these new, innovative products.

Rackspace is excited about this business transformation and the promise of these game-changing new technologies. We have prepared for months to get ready. We know that it all won’t go perfectly; transitioning platforms is never perfect. When we don’t get it right, we will be transparent and honest with you. And we will make it right. That is our promise. We know that the experience ahead will be great for our customers.

We thank you for the trust you put in us every day. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly. The true power of cloud computing is just emerging. It is our goal to make it a powerful weapon for your business. We are here to help. We hope you are as excited about the open cloud and its future as we are.

Lew Moorman is a senior consultant to the top executives of Rackspace, focusing on strategy and product issues. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors. Lew joined Rackspace in April of 2000 and has served in a variety of roles, including as President and Chief Strategy Officer, while the company grew to $1.3 billion in annual sales. Before joining Rackspace, he worked for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, advising technology clients on strategic issues. A native of San Antonio, Lew received a B.A. from Duke University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.



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