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Rackspace To Add DevOps Automation to Managed Cloud Services

Rackspace today said it will offer cloud automation services for organizations with agile software development processes -- particularly those with dynamically changing business requirements.

The company sees its new DevOps Automation Service as an evolution in cloud computing services. It will offer live, real-time management of an organization's managed cloud infrastructure, allowing customers to automate their processes, including test and development, deployment and maintenance. 

"What we're providing is the expertise to run that framework on your behalf using configuration management tools like Chef," said Klee Kleber, Rackspace senior vice president for product development. "It's really the managed 'fanatical' support approach that we've always historically had but applied to the new modern software stack, and the new modern way software is getting developed. This is something we've heard loud and clear from our customers who say they need it."

The service will cost the same as Rackspace's traditional managed cloud services, Kleber said, but is aimed at shops that have a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) model of software development, where changes to an app can be made in minutes or hours, and they need the infrastructure to dynamically respond to those changes.

"We have customers do this today that will make changes multiple times a day to their code base," Kleber said. "That same idea is now pervasive into the infrastructure. The old world was you would set up your infrastructure, load all your software on it and hope it all worked. The new world is that you treat the infrastructure as code and you make changes to it constantly, as well. That may include adding cloud capacity and making changes to security settings."

Matt Barlow, senior manager for dev-ops automation at Rackspace, said his team writes the code that automates a customer's infrastructure and shares that code with the customers, where it collaborates with them. Using automation tools such as Ansible or Chef Cookbooks, they create scripts and templates that enable systems automation based on new code created by developers. The focus is to keep the development and production environments in sync, Barlow said.

"By making sure that your environments are all in sync, it decreases your time-to-market to release new features and allows the business to remain competitive," Barlow explained. "Since everything is automated, with Chef, the underlying infrastructure is abstracted away."

DevOps Automation is targeted at online-centric businesses or groups outside a traditional enterprise that may have a Web-centric business model. It doesn't lend itself to shops with legacy software and older waterfall development processes.

Rackspace is offering limited tests now and plans to make the service generally available toward the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/12/2013 at 5:20 AM


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