Just weeks after Rackspace Hosting unveiled Rackspace Cloud Builders, a new professional cloud services offering based on OpenStack that helps enterprises deploy private cloud services, the company is officially launching Rackspace Cloud Load Balancers. Designed to be easy to set up and use, highly configurable and interoperable with cloud servers or dedicated servers, the automated component distributes workloads across multiple cloud servers to minimize response time and avoid server overload. Features include static IP addresses, built-in high availability, multiple protocols and algorithms, API and control panel access, and session persistence. According to Gartner's recent 2010 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and Web Hosting report, Rackspace is the market-share leader in managed hosting.
The company says its cloud business is growing 83.5 percent year-over-year based on the most recent quarter, and that it has hundreds of beta customers with over 600 Cloud Load Balancers currently in use. While the company has provided load balancing as part of its managed offerings for years, it has been working on the software-based load balancer for almost a year to meet customer needs for a product that is feature-rich and easy to set up and have running in a few seconds after provisioning. Initial customer reviews give high marks to the static IP address capability, followed by high availability. Keeping the service affordable was a priority, so pricing for small businesses can be as low as $12 a month.
One of the design points for the offering, scalability, is important, says Doug Toombs, senior analyst, Tier1 Research. "Once companies move into the cloud and are able to easily scale their infrastructure into dozens or hundreds of servers, the need for a scalable load balancing solution quickly becomes a top-of-mind concern. Rackspace Cloud Load Balancers meets this need for their customers, with a pricing structure designed for the cloud, and the additional benefit of being able to balance traffic to hosts within the Rackspace cloud, within Rackspace's traditional hosting environments or in a customer's own data center."
The research company is seeing the business agility and cost efficiency of cloud computing driving very rapid growth in the market, as organizations and business units learn to quickly and dynamically provision infrastructure to meet rapidly changing needs and market opportunities, adds Toombs. "Additionally, the buzz that cloud is bringing to outsourcing infrastructure needs is having somewhat of a 'halo effect' across traditional hosting and co-location solutions as customers start to carefully consider the best execution environment for a particular business function. Over time, as CIOs have to start thinking a bit more like CFOs, balancing capex and opex costs, Tier1 expects the marketplace to gravitate toward hybrid solution scenarios that can integrate and leverage dedicated hosted infrastructure, dynamically elastic cloud capacity, co-located equipment and a customer's on-premise infrastructure."
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