Rackspace is offering to build OpenStack deployments for other hosting providers as well, such as telecommunication companies, as it expands beyond its own OpenStack hosted services,
"We're getting into the business of helping large service providers become cloud providers," said Scott Sanchez, Rackspace's director of strategy. "We're taking all of our accumulated knowledge around how to be a successful cloud provider and we're delivering that to service providers around the world."
Additionally, Rackspace will make the OpenStack deployments it builds interoperable, in effect creating a federated cloud of linked OpenStack deployments. While the logistical and billing details are still being worked out, the idea is that a customer of one provider could use another service provider's cloud, allowing the customers to run their workloads in different locations around the globe.
Rackspace CTO John Engates said: "Historically we have operated a public cloud and we offered OpenStack in a private cloud context, but what we are doing here is really addressing a common request that we have had from companies and customers over and over again. This is basically targeting telcos and service provides and maybe even co-location facilities around the world that want to be in the cloud business."
Along with NASA, Rackspace created the OpenStack suite of software for hosting IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) deployments, in which users can provision computational, networking and storage components, and not worry about maintaining the supporting hardware. Rackspace now offers its own hosted OpenStack service, offered from a number of locations around the world, such as in London, Hong Kong and Sydney.
This new programme "gives us a way to rapidly expand the footprint that we are able to offer our customers, and, at the same time, help achieve our mission to make OpenStack the most pervasive platform for open cloud computing," Sanchez said.
Regional service providers may also know better ways to reach their local audiences, Sanchez said. The primary customers would be "large incumbent telcos in regions around the world that own and operate their data centers. They may offer hosted services and may want to offer cloud services under their brand names," Sanchez said.
In this offering, Rackspace will deliver servers with pre-installed copies of OpenStack, or it will install OpenStack and supporting software on servers provided by the service providers. It will patch, tune and monitor the deployments adhering to service level agreements (SLA) established between Rackspace and the service provider. It will provide sales, support training and engineering level support.
Sanchez did not reveal prices for a typical deployment, but noted that a deployment could scale to fill an entire data centre. The price would consist of an upfront fee for installation and equipment, and a smaller monthly fee for maintenance. Rackspace could provide metrics of customer usage, which the providers could then use for their own billing.
"Not every provider wants to or should build a cloud from scratch and a turnkey packaged cloud solution from Rackspace will be of interest to many providers," said Gary Chen, IDC research manager for cloud and virtualization system software.