The Rackspace Experience, Part 2: Delivering Your OpenStack Cloud

This is the second in a three-part series about the fanatical experience you’ll receive with a managed OpenStack private cloud from Rackspace.

As one of OpenStack’s initial creators, Rackspace has been an OpenStack provider and contributor longer than anyone. We manage and operate thousands of nodes for hundreds of customers, and we exceed a 99.99 percent uptime for all OpenStack core services.

That’s in large part because we’ve developed a process for modeling, delivering and operating OpenStack private clouds that’s been proven across hundreds of deployments of all sizes. Simply put, our process gives you the successful outcomes you deserve.

If you haven’t read it already, please take a look at part 1, “Modeling Your OpenStack Cloud,” before reading this post.

Delivering your cloud

The Rackspace Private Cloud, or RPC, delivery process includes three components:

  1. your cloud deployment,
  2. a post-deployment quality check and
  3. a live walk through of your environment.

The Rackspace Private Cloud deployment team leads your cloud deployment, using a prescribed installation workflow throughout the deployment process. This workflow includes preparing the deployment and target hosts, configuring the deployment and running the foundation, infrastructure and RPC Ansible playbooks.

As part of this process, your RPC deployment team translates your cloud requirements into configuration files and uses these configuration files and our RPC Ansible playbooks to deploy your cloud environment.

Immediately following your cloud deployment, we run an extensive quality check to verify your cloud has been set up properly and is functioning as intended. The RPC post-deployment quality check includes a series of tests designed to verify:

  • that your configuration files are accurate and persistent,
  • that your monitoring services and alarms were configured properly, and
  • that each cloud service is responding as designed.

To test your configuration files, we reboot the physical devices in your cloud and verify that each setting is accurate following the reboot. This includes ensuring that the appropriate version of RPC software is installed, your Galera clusters survived the reboot, your requested users and tenants were created and assigned the appropriate role, the correct networks were created, your Glance images were uploaded and your floating IPs were created and can be used to access instances remotely.

Following the configuration file test, we run through a series of monitoring playbooks to ensure your monitoring services and alarms are configured properly and that each cloud service passes its specific test. During this step, we run local API checks on each OpenStack service (e.g., for Cinder, we verify that the API can return a list of volumes and snapshots; for Glance, we verify that the API can return a list of images), we verify that the Galera and RabbitMQ clusters are synchronized, that we can log in to the Horizon dashboard using your admin user credentials and that we can connect to other services within your cloud including Logstash and Elasticsearch.

The final step of the Rackspace Private Cloud delivery process is a live walk through of your cloud environment. While we manage and operate your cloud, we also want to help you get the most out of using it.

Your walk through is led by an RPC OpenStack engineer and serves as an introduction to your cloud. They begin by getting a sense of your familiarity with OpenStack and answering your initial questions. Following that, they’ll help you log into your Horizon dashboard and will guide you through the key tasks and capabilities associated with both administering and using your cloud. That includes:

  • setting up Security Groups and SSH keys,
  • reviewing and customizing your cloud resources (e.g., tenants, quotas, flavors),
  • booting an instance,
  • creating a volume,
  • customizing your network and
  • reviewing the information in the Project, Admin and Solutions tabs.

Once the live walk through is complete, and you’re satisfied, the delivery of your cloud is complete and you can start using your Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud.

Our delivery process is one of the many capabilities that distinguish what Rackspace does from other vendors. We’re committed to this distinctive process, because it accelerates time to value while minimizing impediments to success.

In the final post of this series, we’ll provide a deep dive into operating your cloud and will help you understand how we have the flexibility to deliver an OpenStack private cloud in your data center, in our data center, or in a third-party data center — without added complexity or compromise.

To learn more and see whether private cloud as a service might be a good fit for your organization, take advantage of a free strategy session with a private cloud expert — no strings attached. SIGN UP NOW.

Steve Ribble serves as Director of Operations for Rackspace’s OpenStack Private Cloud offering. In this role, Steve leads technical and operational teams delivering a world-class customer experience through open source technology stacks. Prior to his current role, Steve spent seven years assisting Rackspace’s enterprise offering build-out where he led a service delivery group for its largest and most complex customer base. His goal over the last 10 years has been a relentless focus on the end user experience taking traditional technical support structures and transforming them into a customized, value-differentiated managed services model, at scale. Steve holds a B.S. in Business Management from Trinity University in San Antonio, where he also currently resides with his beautiful wife Lyndsey and two wonderful sons, William and Caden.


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