RackSpace Offers Cloud Management Platform

The company said the service is ideal for companies wanting to transition to a cloud environment for on-demand availability.

Hosting and cloud computing specialist Rackspace Hosting announced its managed cloud offering, Cloud Servers, which features a managed service level designed to provide businesses with proactive monitoring, troubleshooting and guidance on how to leverage cloud computing. Rackspace is expanding its Fanatical Support into the cloud by marrying its 24/7 managed service level with its scalable on-demand Cloud Servers offering.

The company said the service offering is ideal for companies that want to transition to a cloud environment for on-demand availability, flexibility and scalability, but lack internal cloud expertise. In addition to the 24/7 core service level already provided on the Rackspace Cloud, its managed cloud will use dedicated teams to provide operating system support and application level support, as well as guidance on how to leverage the cloud. A company release noted that dozens of companies participated in Rackspace's Beta program.

Travis Sitzlar, CTO of World Triathlon Corp., organizer of the Ironman races, and a Rackspace Cloud beta customer, said his corporation manages the marketing, athlete tracking and live event coverage of each Ironman race, and has fluctuating business needs throughout the year. "The managed cloud is ideal for us because we have traffic peaks during race times and significantly less demand when there are fewer events occurring," he said. "The cloud environment is perfect for us, as we can take advantage of scaling up and down throughout the year, but we could not do it without the support from Rackspace. The managed service is critical to us because Rackspace provides us with professional insight on how to best use the cloud environment while also helping to ensure that issues are proactively resolved, so we can focus on producing the best Ironman events."

Managed cloud provides a suite of features supported by the industry's service-level agreement, including 24/7 rapid response to monitoring alerts that are sent to customers and the Rackspace support team. If customers choose, Rackspace can be authorized to troubleshoot problems ahead of company knowledge, and operating system and application infrastructure support, including updates and patches to the following operating systems: MS Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise 64-bit, Ubuntu 10.4 (Lucid Lynx), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, and CentOS 5.5. Applications supported include Apache, MySQL, PHP, .NET/IIS and Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition 2008 R2.

Additional features include technical guidance, which can help customers plan for future growth and maximize their current cloud environment, Admin Level Access to cloud servers, provided so that customers can maintain full control at all times. In addition, Rackspace will also maintain access so our support teams can troubleshoot and resolve issues in real time. Finally, businesses can reach their support team via phone call, chat or e-mail, and can submit service tickets. Rackspace works on issues based on alerts and can also support customers that are trying to resolve their own issues with the built-in management tools. The company said it would also maintain responsibility for network and hardware uptime.

"Rackspace is defining a new category of hosting-managed cloud-much as we did a decade ago when we led the way in managed hosting," said Pat Matthews, senior vice president of the cloud division at Rackspace. "Although the first era of the cloud was for developers and early adopters, now the rest of the world wants to use this incredible technology, and Rackspace is making this possible. Many businesses want the help and expertise to make cloud computing work for them. We listened to our customers and now provide unmatched service in the cloud so companies can focus on what they know best-their core business-while Rackspace takes care of the rest. "