Rackspace Hosting, which went public with its IPO in August, is looking to expand its cloud computing offering by acquiring Slicehost, which allows businesses to host applications on virtual servers, and Jungle Disk, which offers software that works with Amazon.com's Amazon S3. The two acquisitions, along with some new partnerships, should allow Rackspace to compete against and also provide easier access to Amazon.com's cloud computing offerings.
Hosting, which had an initial public offering in August,
is looking to expand
its hosted cloud computing offerings with several acquisitions and partnerships
that will allow the company to better compete against Amazon.com
and its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.
On Oct. 22, Rackspace plans to announce its acquisitions of Slicehost, which
has developed Xen-based virtualization technology that partitions virtual
servers for companies looking to host applications in the cloud, and Jungle
Disk, which makes an application that bridges the gap between the desktop
S3 (Simple Storage Service).
Financial details of the two acquisitions were
not made public.
In addition, Rackspace
is announcing two partnerships that will allow it to offer new services for
those businesses interested in hosting applications in the cloud. The
partnerships are with Sonian, a company that provides hosted mail archiving,
and Limelight Networks, a high-performance content delivery network provider
that has focused on digital video.
The Limelight partnership is important as it will allow Rackspace to offer a
CDN (content delivery network) similar to the one Amazon.com
announced in September.
At the same time, the
acquisition of Jungle Disk now allows Rackspace to offer customers that
have Web-based businesses easier access to Amazon.com's storage offering as
well as other online storage offerings.
"We want to make the cloud easy to use and combine that with what
Rackspace has been doing for years, which is supporting customers and hosting
their mission-critical infrastructures," said Rackspace CTO
John Engates. "We want to combine the cloud with that and make the best of
both worlds available to our customers."
Click here for a rundown of nine online storage and backup providers, including Jungle Disk.
At its most basic, cloud computing allows users to have their applications
supported by third-party vendors, such as Amazon.com, Google and traditional
hosting companies such as Rackspace, which should reduce IT costs and make the
management of these applications easier.
Now that these partnerships and acquisitions are in place, Rackspace will
offer what Engates describes as three sets of services for those enterprises
interested in hosting applications in the cloud and willing to take a chance on
the idea that cloud computing can deliver reduced IT costs.
The first is called Rackspace Cloud Sites, which is a new name for the
company's hosted cloud services that had been developed under the Mosso brand.
This shared hosting platform was developed to support high-traffic Web sites
and offered a pay-as-you-go pricing scale. The hosting platform also supports
Windows and Linux.
The second service is called Cloud Files-formerly CloudFS-and offers the
type of online storage Amazon.com offers with Amazon S3. Cloud Files will use
the technology that Rackspace gained through the Jungle Disk acquisition and also
take advantage of the partnership with Limelight Networks to better distribute
content through the cloud. For now, Rackspace Cloud Files is only available as
Finally, Rackspace is developing a third service called Cloud Servers, which
will offer server capacity for customer applications in the cloud.
This is where Slicehost, which uses Xen hypervisor technology to partition
Linux servers, comes in. Instead of the user waiting to buy time on a physical
server, Slicehost and Rackspace can provision a virtual server to provide
additional compute resources. For now, Slicehost only works with Linux servers,
but Rackspace will eventually add support for Microsoft Windows.
"All of this helps us expand out portfolio,"
Engates said. "It helps us deliver a comprehensive and integrated suite of
solutions, which includes everything from managed hosting all the way into
advanced, cloud-based storage. All of this is also under one umbrella."