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Rackspace Floats Cloud Platform Over U.K.

More than 500 customers are already using the open source hosted environment in the United Kingdom.
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Rackspace has launched its cloud platform in the United Kingdom, six months after introducing the open source environment in the United States.

Rackspace said Wednesday the U.S.-based platform has more than 100,000 customers worldwide, and it was time to introduce the hosted platform in the U.K. The company says it has more than 500 customers in beta in the island nation.

The Rackspace Cloud is based on OpenStack, an open source cloud computing project introduced by Rackspace in July. Rackspace contributed its own code to the project in order to generate more uniform cloud environments in which customers can move around at will. Rackspace's move, as the second largest provider of cloud services, was also intended to compete more effectively against the leading service provider, Amazon Web Services EC2.

The U.K. offering includes Rackspace's OpenStack Object Storage, which is based on the company's Cloud Files. It's the equivalent of Amazon's S3 storage or other forms of persistent storage at cloud vendors.

Rackspace is also offering in the U.K. its Cloud Servers, which run Web applications on virtual machines operating on top of the open source Xen hypervisor. The servers run Windows and a variety of Linux distributions.

Rackspace provides customers with access and control over its servers through either the company's control panel or application programming interface, third-party tools, or Rackspace's newly acquired Cloudkick subsidiary. Rackspace acquired Cloudkick in December. The latter company offered a dashboard that gives IT managers a single view of remote servers, physical or virtual, even if different providers maintain them.

Cloud computing is growing in popularity as enterprises look to lower IT costs and simplify their infrastructure. Under a cloud setup, businesses develop and deploy applications and services on remote servers that are often maintained by a third party. Rackspace has nine major data centers in Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas, Hong Kong, London and other locations, with many tens of thousands of servers.