Rackspace eats own OpenStack heavenly dog food
Rackspace Hosting, some of the contenders within the fight to tackle Amazon’s eponymous Web Services division because the dominant public cloud, is finally confident enough within the OpenStack wares to begin its internal rollout of the software underpinning its Cloud Servers, Cloud Files, and other services.
By doing so, Rackspace is thrashing Hewlett-Packard to market with the 1st big public cloud according to the “Essex” release of OpenStack which was released per week-and-a-half ago. Rackspace is among the two founders of the OpenStack cloud fabric project along side NASA.
HP is planning to place the Essex code out because the underpinnings of its HP Cloud Services as a public beta beginning May 10 , and has had compute and storage clouds in a personal beta test since last September. HP has not made any commitments as to when its OpenStack-based public cloud will go into production.
Rackspace is a little more acquainted with the OpenStack code, and while the company’s top brass was careful about getting previous to itself in making promises, Mark Interrante, vp of goods at Rackspace, tells El Reg that once an undisclosed choice of beta testers put the OpenStack code throughout the paces with Rackspace’s Cloud Servers and Cloud Files services, the corporate will start offering OpenStack-backed compute and storage cloud services to customers beginning May 1. Cloud Services has similarities to Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and Cloud Files has similarities to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) – although both usually are not compatible with one another.
The switch to OpenStack for the Cloud Files service is simply not much of a large deal, because the code behind Cloud Files was developed by Rackspace (and formerly is called CloudFS) and given to the OpenStack effort as project Swift. The move to OpenStack for the Cloud Servers offering – that’s in response to the Nova code contributed by NASA – is an even bigger deal since it really is different. (The Essex code also includes three other modules: the Horizon administration dashboard, the Keystone identity manager, and the Glance image service.)
Interrante says that Rackspace was testing the Essex release in beta for the past six months, and that the shift to OpenStack is absolutely not particularly noticeable to customers when it happens, except that it could spin up servers anywhere from two to four times faster, is more reliable, and has a way more capable set of APIs from which to watch and manage servers. (Yes, he was being sarcastic in addition to fanatical.) The pricing on Cloud Servers will remain an analogous, as will the configuration options and image types for specific server images.
Customers aren’t forced to take OpenStack in the event that they subscribe to Cloud Servers in May, but by July or so OpenStack stands out as the default compute cloud at Rackspace and customers may be moved over from the homegrown code to Nova within the ensuing months. Interrante was uncertain at press time what number customers would have to move from Cloud Servers to OpenStack, however the Cloud Server and Cloud File customer bases together have a complete of 170,000 customers.
Interrante says the plan is so as to add other Rackspace services, equivalent to managed hosting, to the control freakery tool in order that all Rackspace customers can monitor and manage any service from an analogous portal. This software continues to be in early access, and the power to span multiple data center regions and so server tagging is at the way. No word on when it will become in production. Rackspace has also put out Cloud Monitoring into early access, that is in response to the code it got from its acquisition of Cloudkick. The Cloudkick cloudy management service was originally designed to succeed in into Amazon and Slicehost cloud services, and finally it supported Rackspace Cloud. Rackspace bought Slicehost in October 2008 and that’s among the underpinnings of its more modern Cloud Server offering today.
In addition to the fundamental infrastructure clouds and the stuff to observe it, that’s coming along at Rackspace, the corporate is likewise putting out a database service, a block storage service, and a virtual networking service into beta testing.
The database service is predicated on an extension of the Nova cloud controller and the MySQL relational database that was developed under Project Red Dwarf . Right now, the database service can run atop Cloud Servers with the old Rackspace code or the hot Nova controller. Red Dwarf wraps MySQL database instances in OpenVZ containers, that are virtual private servers running atop the Linux kernel and that have a shared kernel and file system. This can be a much lighter solution to virtualize after which cluster MySQL databases instances than using a Xen or KVM hypverisor – in step with the Rackers who run the Red Dwarf project – but when you wish Xen or KVM, Red Dwarf is open source and you’ll tweak it on your heart’s content. You can even switch out MySQL for one more Linux-compatible database inside the service if you would like, and Rackspace is welcoming such efforts within the Red Dwarf project – even though it won’t commercialise them within the Cloud Databases service.
By the best way, the Cloud Databases service is backed up by fast SAN storage for performance reasons, and Interrante says that according to early benchmark tests it offers 2X to 3X the performance of different cloudy database services, along with Amazon’s MySQL-derived Relational Data Service (RDS).
The Cloud Block Storage service that still goes into beta testing today is predicated at the Lunr, a block storage service created by Rackspace that was merged into the Nova controller’s volume manager last summer.
The software-based virtual network service, as a way to eventually become an option at the Cloud Server service, relies at the extensions to Open vSwitch virtual switch which have been created by Nicira. It also draws from various OpenStack components, including the Glance image service, the Melange IP address management service, and the Quantum network-as-a-service, er, service.
No word on when the database, block storage, and virtual network services might be ready for primetime. ®