Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud v14: Platform for New Innovations

'Newton' by Eduardo Paolozzi, after a painting of Issac Newton by William Blake, on the British Library concourse in London.

Building great software is an ongoing process — and even more so with open source software.

As the co-inventor of OpenStack, Rackspace has been working with the open source community since 2010 to create a mature enterprise-ready cloud platform. After 15 community releases, our imprint on the project is evident: we’ve contributed the most lines of code and still operate the world’s largest OpenStack clouds.

Along the way, Rackspace has made private clouds increasingly easier for customers to consume by being the first, and still the best, managed OpenStack private cloud provider. Customers have relied on Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack, aka RPC-O, to provide private clouds as a service they can consume like the public cloud.

Today, version 14 of Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack, based on the Newton release, is generally available.

The Newton release is a strategic one for Rackspace and with RPC-O version 14, we’re launching our next stage of innovation around private cloud as a service.

We took some extra time to move to the Newton release which enabled us to fine tune the OpenStack platform and tooling we use to build our managed private cloud offering. So, while Newton has the bug fixes and stability changes that are par for the course with every new OpenStack release, the story of version 14 is really how Rackspace is positioning it as a platform for new innovations.

“Fast Track Upgrades”

Upgrades have always been the bane of every IT operations team’s existence, particularly when it comes to a complex platform like OpenStack. One of the things our customers have most appreciated is Rackspace’s ability to make OpenStack upgrades seamless and painless. We achieve that through a combination of automation, proven processes and a focus on moving customers from one release to another as quickly as possible. Our existing upgrade process is detailed in our whitepaper titled “Upgrading Openstack without Complexity or Compromise”.

However, many customers are unable to upgrade their private cloud every six months or even every year. For these customers, some of whom are running older releases such as Kilo and Liberty, upgrades become ever more complex and arduous. To address the present and future needs of these customers, Rackspace will soon be rolling out “Fast Track Upgrades.” When this becomes generally available, customers currently running older versions of RPC-O will be able to upgrade directly to version 14.

This will further enhance what we are able to provide in terms of painless upgrades for our customers. More details about Fast Track Upgrades will be available in the near future.

Bare metal and containers

In recent years, new technologies have emerged that can help our customers become even more agile, innovative and efficient. This includes container technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes along with big data solutions such as Hadoop and Spark. Some customers want to run these new technologies on virtual machines while others prefer bare metal servers. In all cases, customers want to be able to consume these disparate technologies in a simple manner.

Rackspace believes OpenStack is the best platform to bring together virtual machines, bare metal servers and containers and the best way to consume them together is through a managed service. We have a managed container offering which is currently in beta and we also plan to offer bare-metal servers on-demand in the future. Over time, current and new customers will have access to increasingly greater innovation with version 14 and later RPC-O releases.

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Kenneth Hui was a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer and Cloud Solutions Architect at Rackspace. Ken has 20+ years of experience in the IT industry and is passionate about helping customers with their cloud computing journey. He lives in New York City where he can indulge in his love of great food from all around the world. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kenhuiny.


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