There have been a flurry of announcements in the Cloud Computing space in the past two days, most notably coming from Rackspace and Amazon. I have been trying to digest these quickly and wanted to post a recap and my analysis of this news. It’s pretty obvious to those of us within the Cloud Computing space that this is not a trend, but actually a logic progression of technology and services. The benefits of the Cloud are clear: pay for what you use, use only what you need, internet infrastructure provisioned using a web browser or API. But once again as the space becomes cluttered with new providers or features, the confusion starts bubbling up.
So let’s take a look at what Rackspace announced on Oct 22nd. Billed as expansion of their “Cloud Hosting Portfolio”, Rackspace’s Cloud announcement provides some insight into their vision and roadmap. I listened to their “Cloud Event” which seemed to get a lot of hype, however, nothing truly jumped out at me as being earth shattering. A phrase comes to mind after all of the dust settled from the event “innovation through acquisition.” Don’t get me wrong, Rackspace’s achievements within the hosting business are definitely impressive and the company did manage to pull off one of the only IPO’s of 2008 within the Technology Sector. But this event seemed to be more of a requirement stemming from stockholders and their Board to “show something noteworthy.” They did do a great job at getting everyone’s attention though.
From the Cloud Event, I wrote down some points that they mentioned:
- They broke down the Cloud into only 2 segments: Cloud Hosting & Cloud Applications
- Their Cloud Hosting Division now consists of 3 products: Cloud Sites, Cloud Files & Cloud Servers
- Cloud Sites – this is the current Mosso offering, rebranded. I view this to fall under the Cloud Platform part of my Cloud Pyramid. You are free to do what you want within it, but with some limitations (predefined application frameworks, no SSH or RDC access currently, no API access, month-to-month billing). This is a good option for people who want slightly more than what Google App Engine offers Python users for free.
- Cloud Files – one can view this as a CDN meets an online storage solution (e.g., an Enterprise DropBox). For this solution, Rackspace acquired JungleDisk (which interestingly uses Amazon’s S3 service for their cloud storage solution – this is expected to change to CloudFS, Rackspace’s own product, at a later date). I think of this offering as falling within the Cloud Extender’s portion of the Cloud Pyramid, detailed within this presentation.
- Cloud Servers – with the acquisition of Slicehost, an innovator within the Xen virtualization, low-cost VPS hosting arena, Rackspace adds to their product line “cloud servers.” Similar features here compared to EC2 and GoGrid with some feature omissions and I view this to be Rackspace’s Cloud Infrastructure entrance.