It’s Official – Rackspace Moves to OpenStack

By Tiffany Trader

August 7, 2012

On Aug. 1, Rackspace became the largest OpenStack-based public cloud in the world. After a four-month beta period, Rackspace began using the open source cloud management platform OpenStack to power its extensive public cloud infrastructure. The company is allowing customers to continue using the legacy system if they have any concerns about the transition.

Rackspace Open Cloud logoThe move occurs just weeks after OpenStack celebrated its second birthday. The open source project was founded by NASA and Rackspace in 2010, and quickly gained a dedicated following. At last count, their global community had attracted nearly 3,400 experts and developers and 184 participating companies. The OpenStack foundation is set to launch later this year and as part of that process is preparing to hold elections for its board later this month.

In an April announcement, Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack Project Policy Board and co-founder Rackspace Cloud, stated: “In less than two years, we’ve had five software releases from hundreds of contributors from more than 50 companies, and the cloud operating system has grown from two core projects to five core projects across compute, storage and networking. The formation of a Foundation is about preserving and accelerating what’s working and moving the community building activities to a neutral long-term home with a broad base of support.”

Rackspace’s open cloud portfolio relies on core components of Essex, the fifth OpenStack software release. It includes Cloud Servers and Databases, based on OpenStack Compute (code-named Nova), as well as Cloud Files, based on OpenStack Object Storage (code-named Swift). Cloud Sites platform as a service supports .NET, PHP, load balancers, and monitoring. Rackspace also boasts a new Cloud Control Panel, which works with Rackspace’s legacy code and OpenStack. Designed to be more user-friendly, the Web-based console incorporates tags, filters, search functionality and action cogs to ease the management of large and complex deployments.

Rackspace Cloud Control Panel
Rackspace Cloud Control Panel – click to enlarge

Rackspace says the new Cloud Servers deliver benefits such as increased efficiency, scalability and agility, and allows customers to launch up to 200 cloud servers in 20 minutes. The company claims its MySQL database service delivers 229 percent faster performance than Amazon’s MySQL-based Relational Database Service (RDS).

Not all of OpenStack’s components were ready to make the transition. Cloud Networks (based on Project Quantum) and Cloud Block Storage (based on the Lunr project), which were in beta in April, are still not in production. Rackspace says it is planning to incorporate these additions this fall, perhaps because that’s when the OpenStack “Folsom” release is due out.

The new entry price for Cloud Servers is 2.2 cents per hour (or $16.06 a month), which gets you a 512MB virtual Linux server with 20GB of disk. This reflects a 27 percent discount from the previous price of 3 cents per hour. The old entry-level configuration – 256MB of virtual memory and 10GB of disk for 1.5 cents per hour – is no longer available. A Windows virtual machine with 1GB of memory and 40GB of disk will run eight cents an hour or $58.40 a month versus six cents an hour and $43.80 a month for the Linux equivalent. The pricing differential reflects the additional costs associated with Windows machines.

Rackspace is not forcing customers to migrate to the OpenStack code, but that is obviously their end goal, and as of Aug. 1, all new instances are defaulting to the new infrastructure. Customers who signed up before the transition who seek to spin up legacy-code machines will have to ask Rackspace for a workaround. The company acknowledges that it could take at least a year or more before every single customer makes the shift.

The speculation mill posits this move is surely aimed at taking market share from cloud king Amazon, but Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier says that’s just not true. The head Racker told Gigaom’s Derrick Harris that Rackspace is not attempting to go head to head with Amazon Web Services, noting that while “AWS, in particular, is playing a scale game. We’re playing a different game” – a tri-pronged approach that emphasizes speed, performance and service.

Speaking of service, Napier doesn’t miss an opportunity to highlight Rackspace’s attention to delivering “fanatical support,” the company’s trademarked term for its brand of exceptional customer service. He speaks more about this customer focus in a recent blog, where he expounds on how this commitment aligns with the company’s move to embrace open source:

“Right now,” writes Napier, “we’re focused on moving Fanatical Support to a new open-source cloud computing platform that we call Open Cloud, which will allow customers to avoid the vendor lock-in that they’ve faced up until now — on our platform as well as on others.”

“We think customers ought to be able to move anytime they see another provider offering better features or service or value. Yes, this means they can leave us on a whim. Moving to this new platform is a big risk for us. It’s expensive. It’s caused some short-term volatility in our business. But it’s working for us. We’re getting great feedback from customers about our offering that gives them the freedom to move. But by sticking to our guns and focusing on the customer, we hope they won’t.”

To complete their open source makeover, Rackspace announced some “brand enhancements” on Tuesday, nearly one week after the big OpenStack launch. With the addition of “the open cloud company” to their red-and-black logo, Rackspace is declaring itself a 21st century “open” cloud provider. On the same day, the company released its second quarter financial earnings statement. Profits rose 43 percent, reflecting better-than-expected revenue from its public cloud business. The strong results could help allay concerns about the disruption caused by the OpenStack rollout, which as the CEO rightly points out is a risk.

Rackspace logoThe phrase “Linux of the cloud” is being applied to OpenStack, but it’s still too soon to tell if the open source cloud “operating system” has the same staying power. The platform is not without critics. The most-repeated refrain is that it’s not an actual unified product, but rather a collection of components, which could make it difficult for some enterprises to implement. The sentiment is that “it’s got great potential, but call me in two years.” However, with the right backing, technology can ramp up quickly. The project’s nearly-200 contributors have deep expertise and even deeper pockets, not to mention a vested interest in making sure that its baby’s twos are not terrible. Time will tell and very soon so will the more than 190,000 Rackspace customers.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Jan. 12, 2017)

January 12, 2017

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

NSF Seeks Input on Cyberinfrastructure Advances Needed

January 12, 2017

In cased you missed it, the National Science Foundation posted a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) late last week seeking input on needs for the next generation of cyberinfrastructure to support science and engineering. Read more…

By John Russell

NSF Approves Bridges Phase 2 Upgrade for Broader Research Use

January 12, 2017

The recently completed phase 2 upgrade of the Bridges supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has been approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF) making it now available for research allocations to the national scientific community, according to an announcement posted this week on the XSEDE web site. Read more…

By John Russell

Clemson Software Optimizes Big Data Transfers

January 11, 2017

Data-intensive science is not a new phenomenon as the high-energy physics and astrophysics communities can certainly attest, but today more and more scientists are facing steep data and throughput challenges fueled by soaring data volumes and the demands of global-scale collaboration. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Remote Visualization: An Integral Technology for Upstream Oil & Gas

As the exploration and production (E&P) of natural resources evolves into an even more complex and vital task, visualization technology has become integral for the upstream oil and gas industry. Read more…

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

UberCloud Cites Progress in HPC Cloud Computing

January 10, 2017

200 HPC cloud experiments, 80 case studies, and a ton of hands-on experience gained, that’s the harvest of four years of UberCloud HPC Experiments. Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

A Conversation with Women in HPC Director Toni Collis

January 6, 2017

In this SC16 video interview, HPCwire Managing Editor Tiffany Trader sits down with Toni Collis, the director and founder of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network, to discuss the strides made since the organization’s debut in 2014. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FPGA-Based Genome Processor Bundles Storage

January 6, 2017

Bio-processor developer Edico Genome is collaborating with storage specialist Dell EMC to bundle computing and storage for analyzing gene-sequencing data. Read more…

By George Leopold

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

UberCloud Cites Progress in HPC Cloud Computing

January 10, 2017

200 HPC cloud experiments, 80 case studies, and a ton of hands-on experience gained, that’s the harvest of four years of UberCloud HPC Experiments. Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

A Conversation with Women in HPC Director Toni Collis

January 6, 2017

In this SC16 video interview, HPCwire Managing Editor Tiffany Trader sits down with Toni Collis, the director and founder of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network, to discuss the strides made since the organization’s debut in 2014. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Fast Rewind: 2016 Was a Wild Ride for HPC

December 23, 2016

Some years quietly sneak by – 2016 not so much. It’s safe to say there are always forces reshaping the HPC landscape but this year’s bunch seemed like a noisy lot. Among the noisemakers: TaihuLight, DGX-1/Pascal, Dell EMC & HPE-SGI et al., KNL to market, OPA-IB chest thumping, Fujitsu-ARM, new U.S. President-elect, BREXIT, JR’s Intel Exit, Exascale (whatever that means now), NCSA@30, whither NSCI, Deep Learning mania, HPC identity crisis…You get the picture. Read more…

By John Russell

AWI Uses New Cray Cluster for Earth Sciences and Bioinformatics

December 22, 2016

The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), headquartered in Bremerhaven, Germany, is one of the country's premier research institutes within the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, and is an internationally respected center of expertise for polar and marine research. In November 2015, AWI awarded Cray a contract to install a cluster supercomputer that would help the institute accelerate time to discovery. Now the effort is starting to pay off. Read more…

By Linda Barney

Addison Snell: The ‘Wild West’ of HPC Disaggregation

December 16, 2016

We caught up with Addison Snell, CEO of HPC industry watcher Intersect360, at SC16 last month, and Snell had his expected, extensive list of insights into trends driving advanced-scale technology in both the commercial and research sectors. Read more…

By Doug Black

KNUPATH Hermosa-based Commercial Boards Expected in Q1 2017

December 15, 2016

Last June tech start-up KnuEdge emerged from stealth mode to begin spreading the word about its new processor and fabric technology that’s been roughly a decade in the making. Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

September 30, 2016

Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon's G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Vectors: How the Old Became New Again in Supercomputing

September 26, 2016

Vector instructions, once a powerful performance innovation of supercomputing in the 1970s and 1980s became an obsolete technology in the 1990s. But like the mythical phoenix bird, vector instructions have arisen from the ashes. Here is the history of a technology that went from new to old then back to new. Read more…

By Lynd Stringer

Container App ‘Singularity’ Eases Scientific Computing

October 20, 2016

HPC container platform Singularity is just six months out from its 1.0 release but already is making inroads across the HPC research landscape. It's in use at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where Singularity founder Gregory Kurtzer has worked in the High Performance Computing Services (HPCS) group for 16 years. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell EMC Engineers Strategy to Democratize HPC

September 29, 2016

The freshly minted Dell EMC division of Dell Technologies is on a mission to take HPC mainstream with a strategy that hinges on engineered solutions, beginning with a focus on three industry verticals: manufacturing, research and life sciences. "Unlike traditional HPC where everybody bought parts, assembled parts and ran the workloads and did iterative engineering, we want folks to focus on time to innovation and let us worry about the infrastructure," said Jim Ganthier, senior vice president, validated solutions organization at Dell EMC Converged Platforms Solution Division. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Genomics Pipeline Combines AWS, Local HPC, and Supercomputing

September 22, 2016

Declining DNA sequencing costs and the rush to do whole genome sequencing (WGS) of large cohort populations – think 5000 subjects now, but many more thousands soon – presents a formidable computational challenge to researchers attempting to make sense of large cohort datasets. Read more…

By John Russell

Beyond von Neumann, Neuromorphic Computing Steadily Advances

March 21, 2016

Neuromorphic computing – brain inspired computing – has long been a tantalizing goal. The human brain does with around 20 watts what supercomputers do with megawatts. And power consumption isn’t the only difference. Fundamentally, brains ‘think differently’ than the von Neumann architecture-based computers. While neuromorphic computing progress has been intriguing, it has still not proven very practical. Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Paves Way for Better Diagnostics

September 19, 2016

Stanford researchers are leveraging GPU-based machines in the Amazon EC2 cloud to run deep learning workloads with the goal of improving diagnostics for a chronic eye disease, called diabetic retinopathy. The disease is a complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness if blood sugar is poorly controlled. It affects about 45 percent of diabetics and 100 million people worldwide, many in developing nations. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Exascale Computing Project Awards $39.8M to 22 Projects

September 7, 2016

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) hit an important milestone today with the announcement of its first round of funding, moving the nation closer to its goal of reaching capable exascale computing by 2023. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This