Rackspace Releases New Public API for Cloud Development

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-07-14 Print this article Print

Users of the Cloud Servers API will have control panel and programmatic access to Rackspace's cloud infrastructure services, which are Cloud Servers, Cloud Files and Slicehost. The API for standards-based cloud servers is designed to give IT managers and software developers better control over their cloud infrastructures.

Cloud services provider Rackspace on July 14 released the public beta of a new API for software developers interested in better and more direct control over their own hosted computing structures.

The Cloud Servers API immediately becomes an alternative to Amazon EC2, an online platform used for a large amount of cloud application development.

Rackspace Cloud General Manager Emil Sayegh also told eWEEK that Rackspace would release the API to the open-source community in a matter of weeks.

The API will enable control panel and programmatic access to the company's cloud infrastructure services: Cloud Servers, Cloud Files and Slicehost, Sayegh said.

Using the standards-based Cloud Servers API, IT managers and software developers will be able to manage their cloud infrastructure with more control and flexibility, Sayegh said. The API enables elastic scenarios, because users can write code that programmatically detects load and scales the number of server instances up and down, Sayegh said.

"At this point, customers cannot access their cloud servers except through the control panel," Sayegh said. "So if they want to spin up servers, take them down, size them-whatever function they want-they only can go through the control point. Now, with the API, they can go and access cloud servers programmatically."

Someone developing an application, for example, can access everything he or she needs through the new API, Sayegh said.

The API brings four new features, according to the release:

  • Server Metadata-Supply server-specific metadata when an instance is created that can be accessed via the API.
  • Server Data Injection-Specify files when [an] instance is created that will be injected into the server file system before startup. This is useful, for example, when inserting SSH [Secure Shell] keys, setting configuration files, or storing data that you want to retrieve from within the Cloud Server itself.
  • Host Identification-The Cloud Servers provisioning algorithm has an anti-affinity property that attempts to spread out customer VMs [virtual machines] across hosts. Under certain situations, Cloud Servers from the same customer may be placed on the same host. Host identification allows you to programmatically detect this condition and take appropriate action.
  • Shared IP Groups-While Rackspace has always supported shared IPs, it's been made simpler with the creation of Shared IP Groups and the ability to enable high availability configurations.
Rackspace Cloud customers will be able to manage their cloud servers or cloud files accounts remotely on iPhones, thanks to an application built off the API by developer Michael Mayo, Sayegh said. The application is expected to be available in the Apple App Store within a month.

Rackspace worked closely with its partners and affiliated independent cloud developers to help ensure that the community shaped the API, Sayegh said.

"With the launch of our API, we're looking forward to working with our partners and the developer community to create a powerful cloud ecosystem which we believe will generate new tools and applications to make cloud hosting even easier and more efficient," Sayegh said.

"We see programmatic control as essential for igniting an ecosystem around the Rackspace Cloud. It's a key tool for generating the 'next big thing' in cloud [computing] because it gives developers the power and control to bring their great ideas to fruition."

To obtain access to the Cloud Servers API, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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