Rackspace's evolution beyond a hosting provider continues. First, the company expanded to offer managed services for third-party clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Now the managed cloud provider plans to step into any data center -- with a managed server and network stack -- yes, including the underlying hardware. The move also includes a close working relationship with Equinix's Cloud Exchange.
The strategy -- called OpenStack everywhere, enables "customers to run a fully-managed OpenStack private cloud in their data center of choice — whether it’s in their own, a third party data center, a Rackspace-supported third party colocation facility or a Rackspace data center," according to an announcement today.
The solution stack looks like the chart below:
The company also said: "From the floor tiles all the way up the service stack, Rackspace is extending our signature Fanatical Support and hosting model into any data center the customer chooses. We fully manage the underlying OpenStack software and hardware, including all compute, network and storage."
Rackspace OpenStack Everywhere: A Closer Look
CTO John Engates and Director of Solution Engineering Ryan Yard describe the strategy in this video:Video link
So what exactly does Rackspace's strategy mean? In sort, Rackspace appears ready to build and ship data center hardware and software to any customer, deploy it, and then remotely manage it. The solution can also work in any third-party data center or colocation center.
A close working relationship with Equinix also sounds like it's starting to blossom. Basically, Rackspace can "burst" the managed on-premises workloads to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Equinix Cloud Exchange is the highway that allows for that.
Rackspace Fanatical Support for All Applications?
Rackspace's efforts sound very promising. But I also have plenty of questions. The big wildcard actually involves the applications that run atop Rackspace's OpenStack platform. Yes, Rackspace offers Fanatical support. But I'm a former Rackspace company who was always impressed with their IaaS support -- but somewhat disappointed with their application-specific support (particularity around WordPress).
That said, Rackspace's evolution beyond a hosting provider has accelerated. The company now manages more than 100 customers in Amazon's cloud. Now, Rackspace has boldly pushed into managed services for all customers in all data centers -- assuming those customers adopt Rackspace's hardware and software stacks...