For those customers building their own control panels, the OpenStack API offers a standard interface that can be used across multiple OpenStack services. "The OpenStack API offers many more options for programmability," Interrante said. A customer can switch among OpenStack service providers, or between Rackspace and an internal cloud, merely by redirecting pointers to the appropriate service.
The other new services should provide similar flexibility, Interrante said.
Starting in July, Rackspace will offer a MySQL database through the OpenStack API. Users will be able to create, populate and manage a full relational MySQL database through the Rackspace Cloud Databases service. User databases will be backed up through redundant SAN (Storage Area Networks) arrays for reliability.
Another new service, Cloud Block Storage, will offer raw storage, either as block storage through a SAN, or through faster, though more expensive, solid state disks. Using OpenStack, a customer can commission a block of storage independent of any one server commissioned through the company.
The Cloud Networks will provide the ability for customers to set up virtual networks among their Rackspace-provisioned servers. Users can set up multiple stand-alone networks, with each virtual network having its own security and usage policies.
Rackspace has not unveiled pricing for the database, storage and networking services, but Interrante said they will be competitive with other cloud services, such as Amazon's. The storage and networking services will be free in the beta period.
Founded in 1998, Rackspace has provided managed server hosting, e-mail, and co-location facilities. It has approximately 172,000 customers. The company led early development of OpenStack, after NASA developed the core functionality.