Rackspace, the erstwhile managed hosting provider who is pushing hard to be an open alternative to Amazon, Microsoft, etc., took a step towards putting some order in their ecosystem with the release of a new portal called Cloud Tools. Rackspace jumped into the Cloud game with an acquisition of a tool for their future ecosystem. They had Jungledisk from the start. With the release of their Open APIs, more companies joined their ecosystem. The greatest advantage of their APIs is the ease with which it can be integrated and a solid documentation support. One of the companies in the Amazon cloud ecosystem, Enstratus, recently joined the Rackspace ecosystem. After completing the integration, the CTO of Enstratus, George Reese, said the following about Rackspace API.
Rackspace really did a solid job designing and (especially) documenting their API. Took us no time to add Rackspace Cloud support.
Rackspace ecosystem is not as big as Amazon’s but they had recently jumped into the field and with their advantage of open API (unless Amazon changes the game by opensourcing their API) and fanatical support, it is matter of time before they capture the imagination of cloud pundits. Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge points out that there are more than 51,000 cloud computing users and nearly 20,000 managed hosting customers.
Larry Dignan offers a good overview of Rackspace portal. It is like the Apple’s App store but without the control and allowing the app vendors to close the deal directly. They act more like an early matchmaker than a priest who finalizes the marriage. Michael Crandell, RightScale CEO says the following about this new portal
Rackspace’s commitment to helping drive success for their partners by leveraging their substantial customer base makes them a smart choice for cloud developers. We are thrilled to be a part of The Rackspace Cloud’s growing cloud ecosystem and to helping Rackspace customers reduce the complexity of cloud computing with the RightScale Cloud Management Platform.
The ecosystem is kicking off with 25 participants and tools like RightScale, providing its Cloud Management Platform for enterprises, Mixpanel, a startup providing real-time user interaction analytics, Cyberduck, providing an open source file browser for Mac OS X that supports Rackspace Cloud Files, and tools from fifteen other partners and developers including: Beanstalk, Cloud Mobile, Cloudkick, Django Cumulus, Elastic Rack, enStratus, jclouds, Jungle Disk (a Rackspace subsidiary), LibCloud, Olark Live Website Chat, rPath, SOASTA, Sonian, Vanilla, Zeus, and several more projects from the community. This is a very good start and it will help Rackspace put their cloud offerings across businesses of varied size and needs.
While debunking the Mckinsey FUD, I was venting my frustration with the pricing structure of Amazon. Since then, Amazon has taken a new strategy of reserved instances and they have now brought down the prices of reserved instances even lower.
I will also take this post to vent my gripe against Amazon’s pricing
structure. In my opinion, the pricing is still too high for something that is
supposed to be commoditized like electricity. I was hoping for the prices to
come down but so far there is no movement on that front. There is some
competition coming up from GoGrid and Rackspace but, at this moment, their
pricing strategy is not a cause of concern for Amazon. If Amazon is serious
about getting into the enterprise IT with full force, they have to lower their
prices drastically. Unless the pricing is very attractive, enterprises are not
going to get out of their comfort zone anytime soon.
Well, now, there are more reasons for enterprises to stay away from the public cloud but Amazon needs a very aggressive pricing strategy to lure the enterprises away from their comfort zone and, also, from their fascination towards private clouds. The competition offered by a bigger Rackspace cloud and players like GoGrid can make the market more competitive and drive down the prices of on-demand cloud hosting even further. In this context, Rackspace’s portal move is very important.
Update: rPath adds support for Rackspace cloud
rPath, an innovator in automating application deployment and maintenance, today announced that it now supports The Rackspace Cloud, the cloud computing division of Rackspace™. With this announcement, software systems packaged, deployed and maintained using the rPath release automation platform are ready-to-run on The Rackspace Cloud’s infrastructure as a service product, Cloud Servers