With Amazon, Microsoft and VMware entrenching themselves in the cloud space, Rackspace recently began offering its customers a hybrid hosting solution that encompasses what they call Hybrid Computing. If you are not familiar with Rackspace, they are a web host and cloud space provider. Their new product is called Cloud Connect and it is a service that links cloud computing with a traditional hosting package.
3 Flavors of Rackspace
If I were to break down Rackspace’s offering, I would break it down to the following: traditional hosting, private cloud, and rackspace cloud. The idea of hybrid computing is to mix and match all three of these flavors to suit your architecture, budget and needs.
Before the cloud, Rackspace’s traditional hosting was the main focus and it relied on dedicated servers for private environments. As the technology progressed they created the Rackspace cloud where you have instant scalability and fast provisioning of servers. This technology allows you to spin up and down Windows or Linux servers quickly as well as the ability to have storage on demand. The Rackspace cloud provides you with everything you would need to build an IT architecture.
The third and final offering would be the Private cloud where you combine dedicated traditional servers with cloud technology. The third and final offering introduces Cloud Connect where you blend together traditional hosting with cloud services using a physical connection. This gives you the power and flexibility to mix and match your environment to build highly scalable, cost effective environments.
According to Lanham Napier, President and CEO, “We are in the 1st inning of the cloud game. Strategically, customers want a trusted partner to run this stuff and navigate all the shifts.” Furthermore, Rackspace sees there sweet spot as the ability to provide you a hybrid solution from a single source. Typically, cloud services do not have the ability to blend to create a hybrid solution. Public clouds can be connected to your own data center but you can have latency challenges as you try to transfer data hundreds of miles away. With Rackspace, all your data whether public, private or traditional is stored in the same place. This sweet spot is great performance.
What is Cloud Connect?
With Cloud Connect, customers of Rackspace can use both dedicated servers and cloud servers over a private secure connection within the Rackspace data center. For example, Major League Gaming (MLG) has leveraged their online application using Cloud Connect. Currently, MLG has roughly millions of gamers and users. In order bring an optimal user experience to its customers, they needed to leverage a hosting company that could handle their user base and be scalable all at the same time. MLG has a dozen or more special events per year. These events require them to beef up their resources. Instead of purchasing more hardware, they simply leverage Rackspace’s Cloud Connect or Hybrid Hosting where they connect dedicated servers with Cloud Servers. This easily accounts for burst or spikes in traffic. Basically, MLG and similar type providers use cloud environments for their application servers and dedicated hardware for their databases and increased I/O tasks.
These platforms are connected via Cloud Connect using an F5 Big-IP Local Traffic Manager or a Cisco ASA firewall compatible device. With this type of scenario, if MLG needs more servers, they can scale up and down and manage it all from 1 console. The whole idea here is to let Rackspace handle your capacity and scalability while you worry about producing the best product in your niche market.
Not the only Game in Town
Rackspace isn’t the only game in town, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Nimbula, Skytap and many others are vying for business. If it was up to these companies, they would sing a song all day long to the tune of get your data in the cloud. Everyone has a different angle. Don’t feel rushed to jump on the cloud bandwagon. Take your time; leverage public and private cloud hybrid technology. Do your own diligence by researching all of the providers out there and then make a choice. Remember, you still have 8 more innings to get in the game.