Rackspace Expands Toolset for Deploying and Operating Private Clouds

Rackspace has made updates to its free and open source Rackspace Private Cloud Software which was first introduced in August 2012. Among the key new features is OpenCenter, a single interface for deploying, configuring and operating clouds at scale in an enterprise data center. 

Customers can choose to use OpenCenter and use Rackspace software at no charge to build and run their own private cloud. “They can also engage with Rackspace if they want support of that software, or what companies are doing increasingly is choosing us to run it for them,” Scott Sanchez, director of strategy, Rackspace Private Cloud, tells 5 Minute Briefing.  “We have remote access and we patch it, tune it, monitor it,provide  24x7 break/fix support, we upgrade it – all the things we do in our public cloud, we would do for them in their own data center, which really gives them that public cloud experience. They can just focus on the business value of using it instead of having all their IT resources focused on running the cloud.” 

Companies choose to use a private cloud rather than a public cloud for reasons that vary, but generally it is because of a need to keep control over data due to concerns about security, compliance, privacy, and adherence to corporate policy, notes Sanchez. There are also “server huggers” – people who just want to keep things in their data centers, as well as those that have made investments in their facilities that they want to be able to use, he notes.

Drawing from the company’s experience operating the Rackspace Open Cloud, the new OpenCenter provides a centralized graphical user interface and API that simplifies and automates the operational activities associated with deploying, managing and maintaining private clouds. “It is half orchestration tool, half decision engine. It takes the accumulated knowledge of millions of human being hours running public clouds and condenses that down into a tool that gives us that access point to do all the things that customers are asking us to do.  This includes the installation, the scale, high availability which we added in this new update, the ability to run on different host operating systems, and the ability to do in-place updates of the code which we do on our public cloud. This is laying the framework for us to deliver all of that inside a customer’s data center,” Sanchez explains.

With this new release, customers now have a choice of Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS for the host operating system in Rackspace Private Cloud deployments. Supporting high availability, OpenCenter provides API or point-and-click deployment and management of high availability environments for the OpenStack controller nodes, improving up-time and reducing business risk.

“Our theory is that enterprises shouldn’t think about multiple clouds. They should have one cloud strategy and the more seamless we can make the integration between a private cloud and our public cloud, the more real that becomes for a CIO that is setting that strategy.   As a result, workload portability is something we are working on between our public cloud and a private cloud so it is really easy to move applications back and forth," says Sanchez.  "To enable that, we need the networks to feel like they are one network, and we are working on that through the use of software-defined networking technologies. And then the last piece that OpenCenter enables for us is the ability to deploy continuously."

Rackspace is not just a software company and is not a hardware company, Sanchez emphasizes. “We are an operator of clouds. We know what to test and we know why to test it to make sure that customers are always going to have the freshest product available to them the same way they can if they use the public cloud, and that is really what people are asking for. They want to run like Rackspace.”

To download the free and open source Rackspace Private Cloud Software, visit

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