Your Trusted Cloud Advisor: the Rackspace Dedicated Architect

No matter how agile your organization, adapting and enhancing your IT can be a challenging endeavor. That can be especially true for organizations evaluating or implementing private cloud — with the complexities and learning curves that come with implementing a unique solution for your business needs.

But you don’t need to go it alone. Rackspace has a valuable resource for avoiding pitfalls, adding expertise to your IT organization, solving emerging issues quickly and enhancing your support experience while maximizing the long-term value of your OpenStack private cloud: the Rackspace dedicated architect.

Working closely with both your team and the Rackspace Private Cloud Support team, dedicated architects are an extra set of expert, data-driven eyes that help you avoid problems, head off unexpected costs and maximize the value of your private cloud. This post explains the capabilities of a Rackspace dedicated architect, and why it’s worth it to make this white glove service part of your private cloud implementation.

Expertise

Rackspace has more experience deploying and managing OpenStack clouds than anyone else in the industry, gained from supporting more than 100 medium-to-large OpenStack private clouds, and our dedicated architects represent the highest levels of that expertise. Most IT organizations recognize the value of having a knowledgeable techie around with a deep understanding of OpenStack. Embedded with your team, a dedicated architect offers capabilities that accelerate your time to value.

For example, a big part of success in the cloud is knowing which new technologies to use, and which aren’t ready for prime time. While future-proofing your IT infrastructure is paramount, successful deployments strike a healthy balance between comfortable legacy apps and the latest hyped up new technology. Rackspace dedicated architects know when it makes sense to be on the cutting edge and when to let others blaze that trail.

Letting us worry about the technology stack also frees you and your teams up to focus on what matters — your business. There’s a large OpenStack community out there, and leveraging it is critical to OpenStack success. Enhancements arise almost daily — so having an advisor familiar with the ins and outs of OpenStack speeds your success — without forcing your IT team to cope with a steep learning curve by themselves.

Solving emerging problems

In any cloud implementation, problems crop up. To take an example, one common problem cloud administrators find themselves having to deal with is that of “hot spots;” a type of noisy neighbor issue . There are a myriad of causes of this phenomenon, from improper flavor/instance type sizing to ineffective deployment strategies that, for example, do not take advantage of the anti-affinity functionality in the Nova compute scheduler.

Dedicated architects are experts at addressing these kinds of issues before they impact you. Along with effective strategic planning, the dedicated architect can help members of your team understand your various environments and how to make better use of them.

Data-driven, customized operations

Our dedicated architects provide a data-driven strategy to ensure your ongoing success. Once your cloud is up and running, they help make the most of your investment by providing data-driven recommendations crafted for your unique ecosystem and requirements.

All customers and clouds have different needs when it comes to support interaction, normal procedures and monitoring or incident response. For example, for one customer, we’ve incorporated various custom monitoring checks with Telegraf that feed metrics to a self-service monitoring dashboard powered by Grafana. This approach ensures Rackspace and the customer both see the same data and all parties fully understand when and why to adjust deployment strategies or to scale out. The architect is always keeping an eye on performance and stability, ready to tune or tweak if something can use improvement.

For another example, you may want a certain series of manual tasks to be completed and to be notified via phone for any issue in PROD and a differing set of support tasks with an email notification only for TEST/DEV. Along with providing the operational and architectural recommendations that make you successful, the Dedicated Architect works alongside your Account Development Manager to support routine operations — creating and maintaining your personalized runbook including tailored support processes and escalation procedures.

Enhancing support

Have you ever had an ongoing issue and noticed that with each support contact you had to tell the same story — describe the same problem again and again? While Rackspace employs some of the most skilled and knowledgeable Openstack support engineers on the planet, no support individual, no matter how competent, can know the full history, quirks and special operational considerations that can be provided by a dedicated technical resource.

Dedicated architects serve as a familiar face here at Rackspace. They’re your primary technical champion on the Rackspace side. They serve as a bridge between you and the support teams. They deliver a deep understanding of your environment to improve your support engagements with other Rackers — ensuring that you have the best possible support experience.

What’s the core value of a Rackspace dedicated architect? Simply put, we become a member of your team so you can focus on your opportunities and innovations. Enlist the services of a Rackspace dedicated architect and let us help make your IT endeavors a success.  Reach out to your Rackspace account manager to learn more about this service.

Kevin Stevens is a Dedicated OpenStack Architect at Rackspace, where he's worked since 2006. He’s been involved with OpenStack since 2011, and has a background in Linux and networking. Kevin is into all things open source and has a passion for technologies that empower end users. In his off time, he loves riding motorcycles and spending time with his family.

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