The Rackspace Cloud Invites Feedback on Upcoming Cloud Servers API

Since the launch of Cloud Servers in March 2009, we’ve been working behind the scenes to build an API and add even more features. Now we’re ready to share our design with the community and listen to what you have to say about it. After all, we’re not building the Cloud for ourselves – we’re building it for you, and your thoughts are important to us.

The Cloud Servers API draft specification can be downloaded here.

Inside the API specification you’ll find more details about new features including the following:

  • Server Metadata – You may now supply server-specific metadata at launch time that can be accessed via the API.

  • Server Personalization – You may now specify files at launch time that will be injected into the server file system before startup. This is useful, for example, when inserting SSH keys, setting configuration files, or storing data that you want to retrieve from within the Cloud Server itself.
  • Host Identification – The Cloud Servers provisioning algorithm has an anti-affinity property that attempts to spread out customer VMs across hosts.  Under certain situations, Cloud Servers from the same customer may be placed on the same host.  Host identification allows you to programmatically detect this condition and take appropriate action.
  • Shared IP Groups – While we’ve always supported shared IPs, we’ve made this simpler with the creation of Shared IP Groups and the ability to programmatically enable high availability configurations.

We’re asking for your input by Tuesday, June 2, 2009, to be considered in the 1.0 release of the API. We encourage you to share your feedback publicly here on the blog or via Twitter. For Twitter, our team will be looking for input using the hash tag #csapi and tweets to @bpiatt.

You can also send us feedback privately by sending us an email at

Thanks so much for being a part of the team, and we look forward to reading and discussing your suggestions!

Bret Piatt

Bret Piatt is Senior Director, Corporate Strategy and Development for Rackspace. He previously served as the General Manager of Apps@Rackspace, where he was responsible for all aspects of our email, collaboration, and backup businesses. Prior to his current role, Bret spent 5 years on the Rackspace Corporate Development & Strategy team identifying and pursuing new growth opportunities for the company's core business through M&A, strategic partnerships and incubation efforts. Bret played a crucial role in the formation of OpenStack, the open source cloud software community, as well as in building the Cloud Tools ecosystem for the Rackspace Cloud. Previously, Bret was on the Product Management teams for both Rackspace and AT&T, where he was responsible for security and compliance product lines. His technical experience comes from his time at AT&T/SBC, where he designed carrier scale monitoring and management systems, optimized networks for enterprise customers and performed lab testing on new products from potential suppliers and partners. Bret has more than 15 years experience working for service providers on leading edge projects and technologies from the beginning of VPN services to the currently emerging public cloud computing market. He is a also frequent speaker on cloud computing and big data technology at major industry events.


  1. We love this API and can’t wait to see it deployed! We (Bloom Apps) are hard at work on a web application and this API is making us lean heavily toward Mosso. That and we are already diehard Rackspace customers (after leaving MT…).

  2. Congrats on getting the API spec out! I hope it’ll be live asap!
    – The rate limits are way too low. 10 updates per minutes can be reached very quickly if one is reconfiguring stuff or launching a bunch of servers. 20 server launches per day is pretty unusable when doing tests. We easily do a hundred server launches on EC2 when we run regression tests.
    – What does updating the admin password exactly do? Replace the password field in /etc/shadow? Replace the line? Replace the file?
    – Which requests does the IF-MODIFIED-SINCE work with? Can we use it on GET /servers?
    – How does a server take over a shared IP? Simply send out a gratuitous ARP?
    – The fact that images are not immutable is a bad idea IMHO. Reproducible launches are a big deal in our experience and if the images can change under you all bets are off.
    – I like the personalization of servers, nice and flexible, only issue is that you thereby require that the host OS can read/write the guest filesystem.


  3. Not entirely related to the API, but it seems impossible to do a snapshot backup of a database running on a cloud server. That makes it very difficult to run a 24×7 replicated mysql system, for example. On another cloud we’re going through quite a hack to shrink the root filesystem at boot time to make space for a second data partition on which we install LVM. Will we have to do the same on cloud servers? Ughhh…

  4. I’ve sent a few emails over about this, but no response back just yet… Will it be possible to retrieve load information? The goal there would be to detect a strong load, and deploy a new server…

  5. We need the possibility to closely integrate cloud files with cloud sites, so that our cloud files storage appears as a vitual directory in our cloud sites storage.

  6. My opinion is that standardization and the emergence of middle-ware and APIs to not only replay information between the many cloud IaaS vendors is inevitable. We will begin seeing more and more specialization in terms of: Some vendors will become known for DBMS infrastructure (think Sun-MySQL/Oracle) while others will concentrate on providing CDN services to distribute content and even applications.


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