Rackspace Says 'Yes' To Virtualization

Leveraging the ESX experience of subsidiary Mosso, Rackspace is moving beyond 1x1 hosting solutions.

January 23, 2008

3 Min Read
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Leveraging the ESX experience of subsidiary Mosso, Rackspace is moving beyond 1x1 hosting solutions. San Antonio-based hosting provider Rackspace is adding a virtualized service offering. Citing increased flexibility, market demand, and a desire to better address customer needs, Rackspace will be offering customers their own, non-shared ESX environments to complement traditional 1x1 server platforms.

Pricing will still be 'per machine' regardless of whether that machine is physical or virtualized. VM hosting rates will be less expensive than physical servers if customers scale to 3-5 VMs per host; Rackspace does not provide exact pricing examples due to the highly variable nature of hosted environments. The company would expect a customer to yield a 10-30% savings running six VMs versus six physical servers. Cost savings plus increased flexibility and a substantially enhanced customer management portal should entice new and old clients to look at virtualizing.

In an interview last week John Engates, CTO, stressed his company's preparation and depth of infrastructure and support services in place to host ESX. Rackspace has five VMware Certified Engineers on staff with ten more in training for certification, as well as their standard 24/7 support providing 'round the clock VMCEs on-call.

ESX solutions will initially be hosted out of Rackspace's Dallas/Fort Worth location, with long-term plans to offer virtualization out of all eight of the company's data centers in Texas, Virginia and the U.K.

Engates touted his company's trademarked 'fanatical support' as the best part of the deal. Rackspace reps, engineers and support staff will hold customers' hands through every step of the hosting process, no VMware expertise required.My first assumption going into the interview with Engates was that Rackspace would capitalize on economies of scale, 'renting' VMs and aggregating customers across hosting platforms.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

It seems most firms are like commuters; everyone knows it makes sense to ride the bus, but folks still want to drive themselves.

Polling their customers in a Virtualization-focused survey, they found 51% are not willing to run on shared hardware. Period. I guess we all really like to drive our own car. Or SUV, as the case may be.

Only 13% of surveyed Rackspacers are willing to ride on shared iron with other customers.The full survey offers additional insight into 'public' perception of virtualization, including my personal favorite: 7.5% have 'Never heard of virtualization' Note to self - What are we doing wrong?

Check out the full survey here.

Rackspace has licensing agreements worked out with Microsoft and RedHat. Customers pay a monthly fee per box (or VM, as of today) as part of their hosting contract. Rackspace provides up front configuration support, 24x7 care and feeding, and now they manage all that new-fangled VMware stuff.

Say you're in the 13% minority and are comfortable sharing a host platform... If you care more about load balancing, on demand response and VM-style flexibility, Mosso offers 100% ESX based solutions running within RackSpace. Mosso customers all run on shared hardware - MOSSO uses Hyperic tools to determine the best fit for system requirements and demand based on VM requirements.

Most of the 300-odd VMs currently running at Rackspace are Mosso machines. I suspect Rackspace will be seeing non-Mosso numbers on the rise as existing customers start the p-to-v move and new clients come aboard for their very own ESX environment.6618

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