The cloud is a bit of a departure for Rackspace, at least given the price. The company built its name on offering great hand-holding support at premium prices. While the cloud instances are priced like commodities, you can still spend money if you need to. If you want to purchase a Cloud Site, one of the products sitting next to the regular cloud servers, it will cost $150 a month. That's dramatically more than the $5 per month that some low-cost providers charge for website hosting, but it includes Rackspace's trademarked "fanatical support." A Cloud Site also comes with fixed limits on bandwidth and storage, which the low-cost servers pretend don't exist when they claim it's all unlimited. Of course the low-cost sites are fibbing -- nothing is unlimited.
There are a number of other ways to buy premium products or premium support. All the cloud machines are available with Rackspace support under a separate tab called Managed Cloud. Almost every product Rackspace offers at a commodity price is also available with hand-holding for more money. If your operation doesn't have the expertise inside or you just want to arrange for an additional layer of people who can assist, you can sign up for support. Even if you're building your own private cloud using Rackspace's open source set of tools, Rackspace will offer to help you from afar.
This is the corner of the IT world that Rackspace has chosen: high-quality support married with commodity hardware and open systems. The company's sales literature pushes the idea that you should "Stay because you want to, not because you have to." The next generation of the Rackspace cloud offers more features and more options, but it stays true to this basic plan. It's more like running your own servers, the kindly Linux boxes you've grown accustomed to, and less like buying into a newfangled religion.
This article, "Review: Rackspace Cloud keeps IaaS simple," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
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