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Rackspace Cloud Storage: Product Overview and Insight

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Bottom Line:

Rackspace does not present itself as a leader in the cloud storage market. That is, it does not have the extensive array of tools that the cloud storage leaders offer. Furthermore, in some cases the company actually promotes the use of the cloud giants for cloud services.

Yet this is part of Rackspace's strategy. The firm is a managed service provider in the cloud market, which means it can offers services for clients across the multicloud landscape. It is strong on customer service, and will directly oversee setting up and monitoring cloud storage deployments.

In short, if customer service and some corporate hand-holding is what your firm needs, Rackspace could be good choice for your company. And in the complex cloud storage world, where customers combine multiple storage platforms, this is a real selling point.

Still, the very best fit for Rackspace is customers who are already using Rackspace web hosting and other managed services. This allows customers to take advantage of Rackspace's full customer-centric approach.

Company Description:

Rackspace is primarily a web hosting and managed service provider that has been offering OpenStack-based public cloud services. Rackspace has shifted its strategy to being a managed service provider across a spectrum of public clouds rather than focusing on its own native cloud storage services.

Rackspace has a competitive professional and managed service team that can provide a white-glove approach to implementing and managing storage-centric cloud use cases, such as backup, content distribution, archiving and disaster recovery. Customers include Fannie Mae, Nike, Raytheon, and Engility.

Service Description:

Rackspace offers Cloud Files and Cloud Block Storage.

• Cloud Files provides online object storage for files and media, delivering them globally at speed over a worldwide content delivery network (CDN). The CDN can distribute images, video, audio, HTML, JavaScript, and cascading style sheets to hundreds of edge locations worldwide.

• Cloud Block Storage offers high-performance, on-demand storage for applications hosted on Cloud Servers.

Locations:

Rackspace public cloud services are offered in data centers in the central and eastern U.S., the U.K., Australia and Hong Kong.

Storage Type:

File, object and block storage.

Differentiator:

CDN focus and partnerships.

Implementation:

Implementation is more complex than general cloud storage, as it involves setting up containers and a CDN.

“It was very easy to provision and get setup immediately,” said the vice president of product development in the services industry. “The biggest downside was that once you spin up a server it wasn't always easy to grow the resources on the server.”

Data Transfer:

RESTful web service interface is used to provision block storage or partition existing block storage across Cloud Servers.

Performance:

High-capacity storage volumes are provisioned to reduce IOPS competition and provide a more consistent, high-performance experience. Standard volumes work well for everyday file system needs, while SSD volumes deliver higher performance for databases and I/O-intensive apps. Disk I/O up to 35,000 4K random read IOPS and 35,000 4K random write IOPS.

“I recently started using Rackspace Cloud Storage and have found it to be very reliable and informative in its reporting," said a database manager in the services industry. "I have it set to send me reports every morning of the backups that are automated from the night before. If there are any kind of issues with the backups and alerted right away and can fix and deal with the problem immediately.”

Availability/ SLA:

99.99% availability.

Technical Support:

Rackspace support, known as the Fanatical Experience, is rated highly. However, its customer portal and documentation are available only in English.

“Fantastic support, solid and dependable resources,” said the vice president of product development in the services industry.

Security:

Cloud Files maintains three copies of each file, so your users get files faster and more reliably. All traffic between applications and Cloud Files uses SSL to establish a secure, encrypted channel. Users have control over sharing of files publicly or keeping them private.

Storage Management:

Store and manage files using an online control panel or desktop software or programmatically via the Cloud Files API. Clients with stringent performance or host security needs can make use of RackConnect to integrate their cloud storage environments with dedicated servers that can be spun up in its cloud in a single-tenanted manner.

Rackspace's Cloud Files service has native integration with the Akamai CDN, which has presence in more than 70 countries, and serves content to users with low-latency access from a large set of edge locations globally.

Markets and Use Cases:

OpenStack-based development testing environments, backup, content delivery network (CDN), container services, web-hosting and content distribution are potential use cases.

Pricing:

Capacity per GB per month starts at $0.000137. Data transfer across the CDN starts at $0.12 per GB.

Vendor

Rackspace

Locations

U.S., U.K., Australia, Hong Kong

Storage Type

File, block, object

Differentiator

CDN focus

Performance

35,000 IOPS

Availability

99.99%

Gartner MQ Rating

Niche

Pricing

$0.000137. GB/month. Data transfer $0.12 per GB.

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