Rackspace Reaches Testing Milestone For Commercial OpenStack Offering

This week, Rackspace announced that testing for its OpenStack based cloud product had graduated to the Beta testing phase after completion of the alpha phase. The transition to the Beta phase represents a “huge milestone for OpenStack and for the Open era of the cloud” insofar as it constitutes an important step toward commercializing the world’s largest open source collaboration on cloud computing. Backed by over 150 companies including AMD, Canonical, Cisco, Dell, Intel and AT&T, OpenStack promises to revolutionize cloud computing by offering vendors non-proprietary Infrastructure as a Service cloud solutions that allow customers to avoid vendor lock-in with respect to their cloud service provider. In the last year, OpenStack’s popularity has soared as more and more companies have joined the collaboration and public awareness of OpenStack skyrocketed. Moreover, OpenStack’s fortunes have been buoyed by a cottage industry of commercial OpenStack offerings by vendors such as Citrix Systems, Dell, HP, Internap, Nebula, Piston and Cloudscaling that have collectively begun to illustrate commercial interest in and the viability of OpenStack-based cloud products and services.

Rackspace’s OpenStack-based cloud offering promises to dramatically alter the cloud computing market landscape by lending even greater legitimacy to OpenStack, particularly given that Rackspace operates one of the largest proprietary public clouds in the world. In a blog post, Rackspace elaborated on OpenStack’s graduation to Beta testing as follows:

Rackspace is powering one of the largest public clouds in the world. We have the capability to test tens of thousands of instances in our Beta environment and we are committed to testing OpenStack at a new level of service provider scale and performance. We will continue developing and testing until it reaches the level of stability and reliability that our customers expect. Our bar is high. In fact, we have invested thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars in the infrastructure alone.

Alpha testing enabled improvements to “API responsiveness” and a user’s ability to deploy a fleet of servers. Beta testing promises to consolidate the transition to “production scale deployments” and additionally feature improvements to the user experience. The Beta phase includes a new control panel and a more robust API for developers. Beta testing will also feature stress testing on tens of thousands of compute instances as opposed to the hundreds that were used in alpha testing. Rackspace’s position as one of the largest cloud providers in the world enables it to “invest thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars in the infrastructure alone” and commit to markedly high testing standards for commercializing OpenStack.

Rightscale, a well known cloud computing management software vendor, participated in the alpha testing and noted that “Rackspace’s leadership in the OpenStack community has positioned them well to make Cloud Servers faster, more scalable and provide a reliable platform for partners like us and for their customers.” Moreover, Rackspace’s scale and experience in enterprise IaaS deployments uniquely qualifies it to deliver an enterprise-grade version of OpenStack. As such, Rackspace’s achievement of the Beta testing milestone for OpenStack marks a significant step toward increased cloud computing inter-operability and transparent cloud standards that are likely to accelerate market adoption of cloud computing technology even further. If testing goes well, Rackspace branded OpenStack clouds are expected to be ready for commercial deployment in the third or fourth quarter of 2012.

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