Future Path of Rackspace Cloud Products

I joined Rackspace a couple of months ago, and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to introduce myself and speak a little bit about our future path here at the Rackspace Cloud . . .

I have been asked to lead our Product & Development efforts for our Cloud services. Previously I led the global Product teams for Yahoo! Finance, Sports, News, and Entertainment properties that cumulatively have more than 250MM users worldwide. I am passionate about technology and have spent the past 20+ years focusing my efforts on helping companies build and develop world-class products and services. I can’t tell you how excited I am to come to Rackspace and help develop the future of Cloud.

Since joining Rackspace, I have spent a lot of time listening to our customers. Many of you love our services; many also have ideas and requests to help take our services to the next level. I want you to know we are listening! For example, we are actively working to improve cloud control panel responsiveness, how elastic our services are, and, over the course of the next two quarters, we will be upgrading our CDN offering within our Cloud Files product line and delivering features such as SSL, HTTP Compression, Edge Purge, Streaming and most importantly CNAME. We have listened to our customers and we are excited to deliver on these long-standing feature requests.

We are taking our efforts to the next level and are putting together some big plans for the future. We realize that the Cloud Computing market, and more specifically the competition we face, is not going to be slowing down its effort to try and win the battle for your business. In addition, I believe ultimately the market will be made up of five computers that power everything we do; this is essentially the vision I have for Cloud Computing and I want Rackspace to be one of those computers! In another post I’ll explain more about what I mean behind that philosophy. We are working on some big investments for the future that we believe will ultimately help you and your business take advantage of the promises being made around Cloud Computing that are talked about in the media every day.

If you have been following our blog over the past few months, you have already seen some of the developments start to come to reality, and it’s just the beginning.  We’ve introduced new services like Cloud Servers for Windows, Cloud Connect, Load Balancing as a Service, Bulk Import for Cloud Files, a new plug-in for .NET and Visual Studios developers and of course we decided to open source our Cloud with the announcement of OpenStack. While we are proud of these accomplishments, we realize there is still much work to be done.

We’ve heard your feedback and have worked to create new ways for you to offer feedback, with tools like our Product Feedback tool. We know you are asking for a better solution for backing up Cloud Servers, CNAME support for Cloud Files, a faster more responsive Control Panel, and much more. I want you to know that these are all things we are actively working on at this time and there is a lot more on top of that.

In addition I am making some changes inside of our organization to better align us with the future vision I see for Cloud Computing.

  1. Design Thinking First
    We are going to put the user experience and design at the top of our agenda when we look to develop and update our products. We want you to have an amazing experience every time you use our products and services.
  2. Loosely Coupled Innovation Teams
    We are going to re-engineer the way our teams are structured today, so we can capitalize on ideas quickly and scale our product and development organization around the world.
  3. New Talent, New Functions
    We are going to be hiring like crazy—top talent for all sorts of different functions. Want to help shape the future of Cloud Computing? Come apply, we’d love to chat with you.

Over the next few months, you are going to start to see a much more heavy investment from Rackspace in delivering new services and tools. That’s my promise to you.

I hope you are as excited as I am about what the future holds. It’s going to be a fun ride!

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Rack Blogger is our catchall blog byline, subbed in when a Racker author moves on, or used when we publish a guest post. You can email Rack Blogger at blog@rackspace.com.


  1. Based on most of the communications and actions coming out of Rackspace, Cloud Sites seems like a stalled product. I’ve seen little innovation or improvement to Cloud Sites compared to your other offerings. Quite the opposite, you’ve reduced the Cloud Sites offering. For example, you quietly removed the ability to bill clients for overage (I was never notified of this change and had to discover it on my own). Can you please talk more about the future of Cloud Sites.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Could you help me find the right person inside RackSpace to talk about purchasing the CloudDB brand for future database work that RackSpace may be launching?

    Includes @CloudDB on Twitter
    CloudDB.com and CloudDB.net domain names.

    Thank you for the help!


  3. “I want you to know we are listening!”

    this is good to hear, but my lord you guys take your sweet time. it was two years ago i remember asking about cname support ( http://www.rackspacecloud.com/blog/2009/01/29/top-10-reasons-why-cloud-files-limelight-offers-a-better-experience-than-s3-cloudfront/comment-page-1/#comment-3396 ), and still we wait.

    in june the same year, there were heaps of great comments about how you could improve your dns service ( http://www.rackspacecloud.com/blog/2009/06/04/dns-the-overlooked-cloud-service/ ) and they’re all still just as relevant today, no improvements in sight. i’m glad you’re working on updating the offering now, but route53 already overtook you.

    i’m frightened to ask what’s happened to your uk cloud serving offering. end of 2010 was the suggested date. apologies for moaning but as much as i love your service, your competitors are getting things done faster.

  4. ooh, i do have one constructive suggestion. the lack of bundled bandwidth with cloud servers means that for many of our needs, rackspace is stupidly expensive compared to others in the same space. take this simple cost comparison for hosting a high bandwidth site in the cloud.

    prices for a server utilising x1 terrabyte of bandwidth per month (in GBP):

    xeneurope = £12.71
    vps247 = £20
    vps.net = £50
    rackspacecloud = £147.89

    i appreciate most people won’t require that much bandwidth, but as good as your network is, it can’t be three times as good as everybody else’s? maybe i’ve calculated something wrong?

  5. Are we going to see a MySQL Cluster or Drizzle service soon? It would be a huge innovation step to eliminate the complexity of managing load balancing among slaves especially in failover scenarios.

    We would welcome a SQL database as a service.

  6. Since we are in the process of migrating many of our clients over to CloudSites, we would appreciate a heads up ASAP if CloudSites is expected to be phased out…..Please update us as soon as possible….

    • I strongly doubt they are phasing out Cloud sites any time soon. Just under a year ago they increase the price of cloudsites so it wouldnt make any sense to phase out the product now. Besides, there current users like myself would have already been warned about this.

  7. Thanks for inviting dialogue about the future of Rackspace Cloud Sites.

    Three things that would help a lot:

    (1) Currently you offer a way to schedule tasks, but no way to run a task now. I am not asking for ssh access here – just a way to run a “scheduled task” without tediously scheduling it for two minutes from now and then un-scheduling it. Displaying the output would, of course, be ideal. I’ve requested this feature in the past, but no love for this simple suggestion which requires no moving parts you don’t already offer.

    (2) Scheduled tasks should send mail only if the task generates output – exactly like cron jobs on any other hosting system. Developers the world over rely on this to reveal when things go wrong and keep their inbox clean when everything is fine. It is painful to set up gmail filters that prove a negative.

    (3) Most important: APC (or some other bytecode cache) for PHP! PHP hosting without caching of compiled bytecode is like recompiling MacOS from source code every time you open your laptop. The memory usage and CPU usage are more than doubled for typical code using frameworks like Symfony or even Drupal, and it is entirely avoidable.

    Right now I am forced to recommend that Rackspace Cloud Sites not be used for nontrivial PHP sites. A shame since Cloud Sites has the potential to be a disruptively simple solution to the scalability problem.

    I recognize that your environment is different and might face special challenges in implementing a bytecode cache. Perhaps you could partner with Zend on that.

  8. […] lot has happened since I introduced myself to you here. We’re continuing to listen to our customers and we have accelerated our product releases and […]


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