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Rackspace To Expand OpenStack Service via Global Partners

On the eve of the biannual gathering of OpenStack developers and stakeholders, Rackspace said it is lining up partners around the world to build their own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings based on the open source cloud platform.

Rackspace made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit, taking place this week in Portland, Ore. As a founder of the OpenStack project, Rackspace has always said that getting others to deploy cloud services based on OpenStack was critical to its business interests. It has had noteworthy success as a number of players -- including AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Piston Cloud -- have rolled out OpenStack-based cloud services. But Rackspace would like to see a growing ecosystem of smaller providers and telcos around the world on board, as well.

A variety of telcos have asked Rackspace to work with them for some time, according to Jim Curry, senior VP and general manager of Rackspace's private cloud business. Until a few years ago, Curry said Rackspace had other priorities and didn't feel it had a viable offering that was portable. Now that it has OpenStack and successfully spun it off to an independent foundation last year, Curry said the timing was right to help partners deploy OpenStack networks to expand the ecosystem of providers.

"It really is more about a platform battle at this point but it definitely does have business implications for us," he said. "Right now, not too many have expertise in this area. We are among the few who do." Indeed, the effort, if successful, could be a low-cost way for Rackspace to rapidly expand its global footprint.

"We're going to package up what we know how to do in the public cloud and deploy that with service providers and telcos worldwide, and connect it together in a seamless network," Curry said. He indicated that it kills two birds with one stone, in that Rackspace can expand its footprint while doing the same with OpenStack.

The company will offer turnkey OpenStack hardware and software that it will manage for its telco partners. Curry wouldn't say if Rackspace has actually signed any partners but said the company is actively working with a number of them, who played a key role in bringing this solution to market.

Rackspace will manage the service for the partners, though the local providers will own the relationship with customers and will bill them, according to Curry. In addition to helping Rackspace spread the OpenStack footprint, it will help the cloud provider extend its own infrastructure since its customers and those of the partners will effectively share capacity.

"We're not necessarily a company that has to own all of our own datacenters to expand," Curry said. "A lot of these partners have great local market knowledge and access. If we can partner with them around our expertise on cloud and the operations of that, they can be a great partner for reaching into that market and getting access to those customers."

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Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/16/2013 at 12:49 PM


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