GoDaddy, one of the largest domain registrars and shared hosting providers, is jumping into the cloud market with a new OpenStack-powered public cloud service.
The move toward a public OpenStack cloud service has been several years in the making at GoDaddy. In 2014, GoDaddy expanded its services offering to include a new Pro-level service tier, providing managed hosting services for customers. At the time, GoDaddy was positioning the Pro service as a cloud alternative for its users, even while the company was beginning to use OpenStack for its own developers and operations.
Now, GoDaddy is bringing its OpenStack efforts forward with the cloud servers platform providing a new public cloud option.
"We have been investing heavily in OpenStack for our own internal cloud at GoDaddy," Jeff King, senior vice president and general manager of Web hosting, told eWEEK. "What we're doing here is the first publicly available product that gives access to the OpenStack infrastructure at GoDaddy."
The GoDaddy OpenStack infrastructure has enabled the company's own developers to rapidly build and deploy applications. That said, currently GoDaddy's shared hosting business makes use of Parallels, though the plan is to use OpenStack for that product in the future, King said.
GoDaddy is launching its new cloud servers product in its Arizona and Virginia data centers today and will be expanding to include data centers in the Netherlands and Singapore in the next three weeks.
"We're announcing a cloud servers product with the ability to spin up any version of Linux that you want in seconds," King explained. "We have been beta-testing the product with several thousand developers for months."
The market for cloud servers is a crowded one, with offerings from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google, DigitalOcean, Linode and many others, all vying for a piece of the market. GoDaddy aims to differentiate on a few different levels, including a focus on the small-business professional and domain expertise, King said.
GoDaddy is one of the largest domain registrars, and as such an existing domain customer will benefit from the direct integration of GoDaddy's name servers and Domain Name Systems infrastructure to spin up cloud instances rapidly.
GoDaddy has long offered Virtual Private Server functionality that will continue to be available even in the new cloud era. The cloud servers are likely to be consumed in a different way from a virtual private server. Cloud servers are being targeted at a more technical business audience and the billing model is pay as you go.
"Cloud is very flexible and elastic, whereas with a virtual private server, you're buying a very specific size of hosting container," King explained.
Although the GoDaddy OpenStack cloud servers product is being positioned for professional users, the offering also includes Bitnami technology for easily installing and deploying applications. Bitnami has partnerships with multiple cloud vendors, including Google and Oracle, for application deployment. GoDaddy has another technology in place for its shared hosting customers, called Installatron that provides one-click Web application installations, King explained.
"Bitnami lays down the entire stack, rather than just being an installer," he said. "It configures the stack from the operating system setting, which you can't do with shared hosting—all the way to the database configuration."
Looking forward, GoDaddy will continue to expand its platform and may have some form of Docker container-focused product in the future.
"We're huge Docker fans, so it's only a matter of time until we natively support Docker," King said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.