Rackspace launches ‘cloud in a box’ offering for any data centre

Open gift boxRackspace has announced the launch of OpenStack Everywhere, delivering OpenStack as a managed service in any data centre the customer chooses.

Backing OpenStack as the preferred private cloud platform for enterprise, the company has built its new offering on the assumption that the complexity and cost of hiring talent to deploy and operate will boost demand for OpenStack as a managed service.

“Companies realise they can free up money and resources for more strategic business investments when they turn their IT capital expenses into operating expenses,” said Darrin Hanson, GM of OpenStack Private Cloud at Rackspace. “When OpenStack is consumed as a managed service, businesses can remove non-core operations, reduce software licensing, and minimise infrastructure acquisition and IT operations costs.”

In previous years, organizations wanting to enter into the OpenStack world would have had to front hardware and infrastructure costs, as well as hire experts for deployment and continuous management. The new product offers Rackspace support, on OpenStack, in a private cloud environment; the customer provides the floor space, power and cooling systems, but Rackspace does everything else.

The new ‘cloud in a box’ enables Rackspace to provide an integrated software, hardware and services product, which can be deployed in any data centre around the world. “Take for example I’m the IT Director for a German company who has a subsidiary in Italy,” said Frank Weyns, Director, OpenStack International at Rackspace “I want to give them local cloud capabilities, but ensure they are using the same technology as the subsidiaries in the UK and America. We can ship a complete hardware, software and services package to Italy, which operates on the same cloud platform as the rest of the business worldwide”

While the complexity of the cloud is no longer a particular challenge, Frank highlighted the main hurdle surrounding cloud computing, in particular OpenStack, is the internal resources. Now OpenStack is moving from the early adopter through to mass market stage, uptake is moving from the IT industry through to other verticals that wouldn’t necessarily have the same expertise internally. The demand for OpenStack may be present for these organizations, however the internal man power to successfully manage the platform at production level isn’t always there.

“The biggest hurdle for these companies to consume cloud, public, private or any cloud, is knowledge. Knowledge about the cloud, but also their internal resource,” said Weyns. “Using the cloud is not difficult; having a team which can manage the cloud 24/7 in a production environment is very different from a PoC however. This is the main reason we have created Rackspace in a box using OpenStack. We can deliver a product to any customer, irrelevant of where they are in their cloud journey, which works in production.

“The biggest concern now is how a business can remain true to their core operations. If you’re not an IT business, say you’re a bank or a car manufacturer, how can you ensure that you are operating in the cloud 24/7 without worrying about downtime or effective management of the technology? You probably won’t have the expertise in-house. This is a major barrier to adoption, and this is where Rackspace can help.”