RightScale, the supplier of an online platform where cloud users prepare, launch and monitor workloads in public clouds, has opened up the use of its platform for customers and partners who want to prepare and launch cloud servers on their own. In the past RightScale customers were restricted to using the RightScale platform as their monitoring and management platform for use with particular clouds, Amazon Web Services' EC2, Rackspace or GoGrid. Now they can prepare a workload with RightScale tools and launch it internally or wherever else it can run, while still getting monitoring and managing capabilities through a link to the RightScale management platform.
The move is likely to widen the use of RightScale workload preparation templates and tools, intellectual property in which the company has made a major investment. RightScale normally collects 3.3 cents an hour for the use of its platform on top of what the cloud service is charging. No such fees will directly result from the broadening of the platform's free availability. Whether it will result in greater revenues to the company in the long run appears to be a risk that the company is willing to embrace.
In one potential use, CEO Michael Crandall pointed out that Amazon Web Services' catalogue of applications has over a thousand already prepared as Amazon Machine Images, ready to run in EC2. Through the free use of the RightScale Cloud Management Platform, its partners and customers can link them to the RightScale platform and monitor them as they run.
Crandall said in an interview that RightScale's approach to the cloud marketplace is adopting an approach "much like the open source model," where core intellectual property is made available for free. RightScale is counting on increased use of its platform to accelerate use of cloud computing, and that in turn will result in businesses that want fully supported service from RightScale rather than just do-it-yourself tools.
IBM's Leon Katsnelson, program director of IBM cloud enablement and data services, pointed out a likely use of the platform. IBM's DB2 is available as an application selection in Amazon's catalogue, but customers who use it go through a multi-step process of building an Amazon Machine Image around their database application, then an AMI around the application server and then commission a pre-built DB2 database server. If the application is demanding, they might decide on commissioning more than one application server or more than one DB2 server to work with it but each server must be built separately.