Rackspace is the #1 player in managed cloud. While they recently announced they would be withdrawing from the pure IaaS market, they have now double-downed their bet on managed cloud with the general availability of the Rackspace DevOps automation service around managed cloud.
Rackspace had previously announced their DevOps automation service a few months back, but that was a limited release. Now DevOps automation is one of the two choices Rackspace customers will have in setting up a managed cloud service.
With this general release Rackspace is offering DevOps automation on both Linux based clouds utilizing Chef among other tools and on Windows using native Windows tools. In addition Rackspace offers enhanced environment stack support. According to the release:
Rackspace now supports the following environment stacks, which can be deployed in hours on the Rackspace Hybrid Cloud: Chef, Rails, Node.js, PHP, Tomcat and Python. Customers can use recommended stack architectures and will receive updates, security patches and the latest versions of environment stacks, which are constantly maintained and tested by Rackspace DevOps engineers.
These stacks are not containers per say a la’ Docker, but are self-contained packages that Rackspace can automate installation of and get customers up and running even faster.
I spoke to Prashanth Chandrasekar, GM of Rackspace’s DevOps Business Segment about this announcement today. Prashanth and his team have been offering DevOps automation to customers since last year. Today’s announcement represents DevOps going mainstream as one of the two preferred methods of deployment for Rackspace customers. I also spoke to Chris Jackson, the CTO of the DevOps team at Rackspace. Chris wrote a nice blog on the SysOp approach versus the DevOps approach. It explains much of the thought process behind the Rackspace offering.
There is also a good, if long Youtube from Rackspace on their DevOps automation service.
Managed cloud DevOps automation was not the only thing Rackspace announced today. Just automating your cloud infrastructure by using a DevOps managed cloud service does not mean you are a DevOps organization. Frankly that is just tools being used by a 3rd party. How do you instill a DevOps culture, mindset in your organization? How do you get your enterprise to actually become a DevOps organization?
Rackspace is offering a full blown professional services offering called “DevOps Advisory Services”. They will come in and evaluate and analyze your needs and present organization. Based upon this they will make recommendations to help you. These include:
- DevOps Workshops: Rackspace is working with customers to perform a range of services including application assessment, transformation planning and knowledge transfer, plus enablement around key areas like Configuration Management Tools, Provisioning and Deployments, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) and Monitoring.
- DevOps Strategy Planning: Rackspace DevOps specialists work with customers to understand their requirements and help create a custom project plan for their business needs and timeline.
- DevOps Professional Services: Rackspace provides access to DevOps professional services from writing infrastructure code to designing structure and building migration plans for applications. This helps customers automate, deploy and test their infrastructure for their main applications, or a set of proof of concepts that the customer helps build.
With today’s news Rackspace continues to demonstrate how important DevOps is to the go forward planning. Some may question how a managed services model would embrace DevOps, but Rackspace is showing the way. Branching out to DevOps pro services will allow them to compete head to head with IBM/SoftLayer offering cloud hosted and managed services wrapped with pro services.
What I always find most compelling about Rackspace’s DevOps services though is that they eat their own dog food. Their DevOps services were born from their own internal use before they brought them to customers. It takes a DevOps organization to offer DevOps services.