Rackspace Delivers OpenStack-based Private Cloud Platform, with Support
This week is turning out to be one of the most notable ever for the OpenStack open source cloud computing platform, which has numerous powerful companies backing it, many of which are part of the OpenStack Foundation. First, Red Hat announced that it is preparing an enterprise-class version of the OpenStack platform for hosting IaaS deployments. It will arrive in a fully supported version early next year, but you can already get a preview edition.
And now, Rackspace, which has begun calling itself "the open cloud company," has announced the release of Rackspace Private Cloud software, built on OpenStack and designed for companies that want to install, test and run a multi-node OpenStack-based private cloud environment. Among other reasons why these moves are big news, Red Hat and Rackspace are squarely focused on providing outstanding support for their platforms.
According to Rackspace's announcement:
"The software, code named “Alamo,” uses the same OpenStack compute platform, Nova, used to run Rackspace clouds and is available as a free download from the Rackspace website. This software is based upon Rackspace’s experience in deploying and operating OpenStack-based public and private clouds in a variety of environments including in Rackspace’s own datacenters as well as in external datacenters. The Rackspace Private Cloud is backed by an optional support offering."
Don't ignore that last point. We took note of Rackspace's strategy of providing "fanatical support" for its cloud platform months ago. According to the announcement: "Organizations running the software can utilize free support forums or can purchase Escalation Support services from Rackspace. Escalation Support includes 24x7x365 ticket and phone support for Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack from the experts at Rackspace."
Meanwhile, Red Hat's preview edition of its OpenStack cloud platform doesn't come with official support yet, but let's not forget Red Hat's legendary reputation for providing support for open source software. Renewing and adding support subscriptions, and concentrating on top quality support, have helped Red Hat become the first billion dollar open source company. There is no doubt that the company's OpenStack cloud efforts will be married with very competitive support.
And, as we've noted, in the race to bring open source flexibility to the cloud and woo enterprises, support will be the key differentiator between platforms. Support is a giant cost center for companies that provide it, but companies that do it well succeed. In the case of many pure open source projects, lack of support and complete documentation is often cited by IT administrators when asked why they don't favor this or that open source solution.
With their robustly supported cloud platforms, Rackspace and Red Hat are poised to hugely benefit from the shift toward the cloud.