Introducing the Rackspace cloud

Rackspace is the home of the #1 managed cloud, which provides you with the best way to get your work done.

By using the Rackspace managed cloud, you can focus only on your core business without worrying about building and maintaining the cloud infrastructure. For more information about what differentiates the managed cloud from other business solutions, see What is managed cloud?

The Rackspace public cloud is bigger than the core infrastructure that is the focus of this guide, but you are likely to begin with the core infrastructure and then add other products and services as you become increasingly familiar with what is possible in the cloud.


Rackspace cloud core infrastructure at a glance

Your Rackspace cloud configuration is backed by the physical infrastructure in our data centers.

The virtual infrastructure of the managed cloud is provided by infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) software services that perform some of the same functions as hardware devices in our data centers:

  • Cloud Servers provides computing power.
  • Cloud Networks creates an internal network of cloud servers.
  • Cloud Block Storage emulates a removable disk, which can be transferred from one cloud server to another.
  • Cloud Images preserves a consistent starting point for new Cloud Servers instances.
  • Cloud Files provides long-term storage for an unlimited number of objects.
  • Additional services enable specific activities such as user authentication, load balancing, and event monitoring.

Cloud Servers, Cloud Networks, Cloud Images, Cloud Block Storage, and Cloud Files are the Rackspace cloud’s core infrastructure. From the Cloud Control Panel, you can send a request to the API for a cloud service. The service processes your request.


The managed cloud in context

The Rackspace managed cloud, our public cloud, is built to comply with the open-source OpenStack specification. We’re a founder of OpenStack and we continue to contribute to its ongoing development. When your workload runs in our managed cloud, it’s managed and supported by Rackers on Rackspace infrastructure in Rackspace data centers. The flexibility of OpenStack backed by the support of Rackspace is a unique and powerful combination; as a user of our managed cloud, you can expect to benefit from that synergy.

If someday you choose to work with an OpenStack cloud but prefer not to do so within the Rackspace managed cloud, you can expect that transition to be easy. When you are a Rackspace customer operating in the Rackspace managed cloud, several alternatives are a short distance away:

  • You can use our Managed Private Cloud product to create and operate your own cloud on infrastructure managed by Rackspace.
  • You can install OpenStack yourself, on your own equipment, and manage your own cloud with your own personnel on your own infrastructure. DevStack can help you quickly build your own OpenStack cloud, potentially suitable for your internal software development.
  • You can find another provider and use their OpenStack-compliant public cloud. The OpenStack Marketplace can help you identify other OpenStack cloud providers.

Touring the Rackspace cloud, service by service

Rackspace’s managed cloud is more than a virtualized representation of physical computing resources, but thinking of it that way may help you understand how so many different services combine to support your workload.

Just as if you had a fixed configuration of physical computing equipment, the services that provide you with flexible computing in the cloud must perform essential tasks:

  • Deliver processing power (Cloud Servers)
  • Connect servers in an internal network (Cloud Networks)
  • Quickstart new servers according to predefined patterns (Cloud Images)
  • Expand storage attached to one server and transferable to others (Cloud Block Storage)
  • Long-term storage for unlimited objects (Cloud Files)

We consider these five services to be the core infrastructure of our managed cloud; the core infrastructure is the focus of this guide.

Beyond the cloud’s core infrastructure, other services provide additional functions. Depending on your workload, you may need to use some or all of these:

  • Authentication (Identity)
  • Data services (Cloud Databases, Cloud Big Data, Object Rocket)
  • Recoverability (Cloud Backup)
  • Distribution of public-facing content (Rackspace CDN)
  • Connections to public-facing networks (Cloud DNS, Cloud Load Balancers)
  • Connections to dedicated hardware (RackConnect)
  • Automated installation (Cloud Orchestration)
  • Automated reconfiguration (Auto Scale)
  • Observation of activity (Cloud Monitoring, Cloud Metrics, Cloud Feeds)

These services work well with the core infrastructure and with each other. They are not the primary focus of this guide, but we’ll mention them when they are relevant.

In other Rackspace resources such as the Cloud Control Panel and technical documentation, you should notice that Rackspace cloud products are grouped so that closely-related products are likely to be discussed together. We follow that convention here, introducing several categories of cloud products available as services in the Rackspace cloud:


Compute services

Services in this category include

  • Cloud Servers
  • Cloud Images

Cloud Servers at a glance

Cloud Servers provides computing power.

Cloud Servers provides computing power.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Nova

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Tip: Cloud Servers is part of the core infrastructure of the Rackspace cloud, the focus of this guide.

A good place to begin learning to interact with it is Interacting with the cloud.

Cloud Images at a glance

Cloud images standardizes cloud server creation.

Cloud Images standardizes cloud server creation.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Glance

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Tip: Cloud Images is part of the core infrastructure of the Rackspace cloud, the focus of this guide.

A good place to begin learning to interact with it is Interacting with the cloud.


Network services

Services in this category include

  • Cloud Networks
  • Cloud DNS
  • Cloud Load Balancers
  • RackConnect

Cloud Networks at a glance

Cloud Networks connects Cloud Servers.

Cloud Networks connects Cloud Servers.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Neutron

Cloud Networks enables customers to create and manage secure, isolated networks in the cloud. These networks are fully single-tenant, and customers have complete control over the network topology, IP addressing (IPv4 or IPv6), and which Cloud Servers are connected to the network.

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Tip: Cloud Networks is part of the core infrastructure of the Rackspace cloud, the focus of this guide.

A good place to begin learning to interact with it is Interacting with the cloud.

Cloud DNS at a glance

Cloud DNS manages DNS services for domains.

Cloud DNS manages DNS services for domains.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

Cloud Load Balancers at a glance

Cloud Load Balancers distribute workloads across multiple servers.

Cloud Load Balancers distribute workloads across multiple servers.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

RackConnect at a glance

RackConnect connects dedicated servers to the managed cloud.

RackConnect connects dedicated servers to the managed cloud.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

Storage and content delivery services

Services in this category include

  • Cloud Block Storage
  • Cloud Backup
  • Rackspace CDN
  • Cloud Files

Cloud Block Storage at a glance

Cloud Block Storage adds cloud server storage.

Cloud Block Storage adds cloud server storage.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Cinder

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Tip: Cloud Block Storage is part of the core infrastructure of the Rackspace cloud, the focus of this guide.

A good place to begin learning to interact with it is Interacting with the cloud.

Cloud Backup at a glance

Cloud Backup safeguards data.

Cloud Backup safeguards data.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

Rackspace CDN at a glance

Rackspace CDN accelerates content delivery.

Rackspace CDN accelerates content delivery.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

Cloud Files at a glance

Cloud Files stores online objects

Cloud Files stores online objects.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Swift

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Tip: Cloud Files is part of the core infrastructure of the Rackspace cloud, the focus of this guide.

A good place to begin learning to interact with it is Interacting with the cloud.


Data services

Services in this category include

  • Cloud Big Data
  • Cloud Databases
  • Object Rocket

Cloud Big Data at a glance

Cloud Big Data manages Apache Hadoop environments.

Cloud Big Data manages Apache Hadoop environments.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

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Tip: Cloud Big Data is the right tool for Hadoop.

Cloud Databases at a glance

Cloud Databases provides on-demand provisioning and open APIs.

Cloud Databases provides on-demand provisioning and open APIs.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Trove

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Tip: Cloud Databases is the right tool for MySQL, Percona Server, and MariaDB.

Object Rocket at a glance

Object Rocket provides managed instances of MondoDB and Redis.

Object Rocket provides managed instances of MongoDB and Redis.
Product overview

Pay only for what you use

* Open-source roots: Object Rocket

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Tip: Object Rocket is the right tool for MongoDB and Redis.


Application services

Services in this category include

  • Auto Scale
  • Cloud Metrics
  • Cloud Monitoring
  • Cloud Orchestration
  • Rackspace Intelligence

Auto Scale at a glance

Auto Scale meets user demand.

Auto Scale meets user demand.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: Otter

Rackspace Metrics at a glance

Rackspace Metrics stores and serves time-series metrics.

Rackspace Metrics stores and serves time-series metrics.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: Blueflood

Cloud Monitoring at a glance

Cloud Monitoring monitors the infrastructure.

Cloud Monitoring monitors the infrastructure.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: Virgo

Cloud Orchestration at a glance

Cloud Orchestration automates and standardizes infrastructure.

Cloud Orchestration automates and standardizes infrastructure.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Heat

Rackspace Intelligence

Rackspace Intelligence provides a transparent view of infrastructure health.

Rackspace Intelligence provides a transparent view of infrastructure health.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

Security and supporting services

Services in this category include

  • Cloud Feeds
  • Identity

Cloud Feeds at a glance

Cloud Feeds streamlines event notifications.

Cloud Feeds streamlines event notifications.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: Atom Hopper

Cloud Feeds provides API access to events emitted from your infrastructure resources. With Cloud Feeds, you can track usage right now. You can see access events (for example, who changed what server via control plane at what point) and state transition events (for example, when did a load balancer’s status go to ‘draining’).

Identity at a glance

Identity manages authentication.

Identity manages authentication.
Product overview

Free with every cloud account

* Open-source roots: OpenStack Keystone

Identity is the authentication and user-administration service. With Identity, you can manage role-based access to other Rackspace services.


Customer stories

You have big ideas of your own, but thinking about what other customers have accomplished in the Rackspace cloud may give you some new inspiration. To learn about customers who have used the cloud to help them meet some of the same challenges you are facing, explore the Rackspace Customer Stories collection. Within that collection, you may be able to find a story about a Rackspace customer who is working in your industry, in your region, or with the Rackspace product you want to learn about.

For example, at Customer Stories, pulldown the Product list and click Cloud Servers to see links to several stories of customers who are using Cloud Servers to meet their business challenges.

Other good places to learn about Rackspace customer stories include: