Rackspace changes course, won't support third-party OpenStack distributions as part of private cloud offering

Rackspace has decided against supporting third-party OpenStack distributions as part of its Private Cloud offering. Last year Rackspace said it planned to support OpenStack distributions from third parties as part of what was called Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition. The offering included Rackspace-defined reference architectures for building private clouds plus specified hardware and software options that were compliant with the architectures. If businesses used the reference architectures and the specified hardware vendors, they could sign up for Rackspace’s support services.

[Hadoop goes to the cloud and IBM, Oracle talk up enterprise cloud offerings]

change course_0.jpgSource: Phillie Casablanca via Flickr
Rackspace is changing course

Rackspace had compiled its own version of OpenStack for customers to use but said it did so because there weren’t other great options out there. It said it would rather consume other offerings and wanted to support many different distributions as part of the program. Fast forward a year. This week Rackspace listed a handful of new vendors including Dell, HP, NetApp, EMC, Arista, Broacade, Cisco and AMD as providers of gear that is certified to be used as part of what it is now calling simply Rackspace Private Cloud. Some of those companies issued their own press releases about having their products certified. Rackspace also released a few new reference architectures for functions including mass compute with external storage, distributed object storage and mass compute where the data lives on the compute nodes. When I asked whether third-party OpenStack distributions might still get certified as part of the program, Rackspace said that times have changed. “Integrating and supporting distros from other companies was our original plan last year based on the state of the market. However, things have evolved quickly as enterprises start evaluating their options in the cloud generally and the OpenStack market specifically,” Jim Curry, general manager of Rackspace Private Cloud said via email. He said customers want to run a cloud model internally that “looks and feels like what Rackspace delivers in the public cloud. To deliver that experience, we needed to develop software that deploys an OpenStack cloud that Rackspace can operate and support.” He said that the announcements from hardware vendors this week are evidence that those vendors are feeling demand for this Rackspace Private Cloud offering. Reading between the lines it sounds to me like Rackspace realized that its best opportunity to sign up services deals with customers would be if those customers were running Rackspace’s OpenStack software. In addition, running that software also probably makes it easier for businesses to build hybrid clouds that span a private cloud and Rackspace’s public cloud, potentially driving additional business to Rackspace. The shift isn’t particularly surprising but it’s probably bad news for the many developers of OpenStack distributions for private clouds who might have seen a bump if they were tied to Rackspace. Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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