Rackspace Looks To Compete With Amazon In Cloud Storage Services

Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Computer racks have long offered a bit of flexibility when it comes to the size options. Now open cloud vendor Rackspace is looking to provide the same sort of flexibility in the virtual sense for users, who previously had to buy cloud server storage based not on needs, but rather on what the provider assigned.
This twist is clearly aimed at the likes of Amazon Web Services Elastic Block Store, and similar efforts that assign bulk storage, even to those who have more specific storage size needs. The Rackspace Cloud Block Storage solution, which is reportedly powered by OpenStack, is intended to complement the company’s core business services.
And because it is powered by OpenStack this flexibility option won’t be overly complex or complicated, as it has been designed to provide a common interface for customers. This allows customers to interact with this storage via working server applications.
The Rackspace block storage will feature the performance characteristics of either disk drives or solid state devices, while providing high-performance as well. The pricing options are also on par, with standard service on disks being priced at $.15 per Gigabyte per month, while the more expensive solid state option will begin at $.70 per Gigabyte.
By comparison Amazon offers a similar service at $.10 per GB per month, but adds an I/O fee of $.10 for each million I/O operations. Rackspace has noted that it will not charge I/O and instead looked to simplify the pricing of storage.
The cost for I/O suggests that these options might be aimed at customers looking for different needs in storage, with Rackspace being an option for active data as opposed to Amazon’s archiving options.
“We don’t charge for I/Os. We think it makes sense to simplify the pricing,” John Engates, CTO of the San Antonio, Texas-based cloud service and hosted service provider told Information Week on Monday.
Rackspace could also be entering the market as pricing remains an issue. In March, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft each dropped prices on their respective cloud services. At the time it appeared that Amazon Web Services was looking for big customers, while Microsoft was looking to lure in entry-level customers and developers.
Both could see increased competition as Rackspace looks to shake up the space.
The OpenStack type of storage from Rackspace could be used to hold active application data, including database transactions, messages and even files that are accessed regularly; as opposed to the Amazon solution, which is really meant to hold infrequently accessed files and data.
Rackspace has held off the launch of a cloud storage service as it waited for the framework of OpenStack to be read. The company, which had pioneered micro servers in the cloud, has been seen as slow to provide a service that adapted to the application customers wanted to run.
With OpenStack now an option, Rackspace is looking to fill the void of active storage for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), and enterprises, including those that weren’t ready to deploy to the cloud before.

Source: Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

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