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Big News for Cloud Files Users – Akamai is coming!

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For those of you who have been waiting patiently for CNAMEs and much faster development of our Cloud Files product, we have some great news!  Today we announced that we have entered into an agreement with Akamai Technologies, Inc., the leader in CDN innovation and content delivery.  This relationship marks a renewed commitment from our team to develop our CDN offering and provide you with the features you’ve been asking for. We have been working hard to find the perfect long term solution and with Akamai, we believe we have found it.

According to Akamai, approximately 85% of the world’s Internet users are within a single “network hop” of an Akamai server.  Akamai also claims to deliver between 15-30% of all web traffic, leveraging 73,000 servers in 70 countries within nearly 1,000 networks.

Starting this quarter, we will begin to implement the Akamai platform and start rolling out the most requested features including: CNAMEs, SSL, and streaming.  We expect the migration to be seamless for our customers, and Cloud Files CDN customers won’t need to make any initial adjustments to CDN URLs or website configurations. Rackspace will support existing URLs as well as Akamai URLs on the new Akamai infrastructure during the transition.

Here is the current plan for the first set of new features:

1Q 2011

  • SSL – SSL is the secure delivery of content, all the way from the edge to the origin servers. 
  • Edge Purge – This feature allows customers to immediately remove their content from the network.  Without this feature, removing content can take upwards of 3 days to process. 
  • 2Q 2011

  • CNAMES – CNAMEs allow customers to turn complex CDN urls that are often long into shorter, branded urls for their public content.  We are targeting to have this feature completed  in 2Q 2011. 
  • This is only the beginning – with Cloud Files as the reference deployment for OpenStack Object Storage, we expect new features currently under development by dozens of developers across the world to be released soon.

    We’ll keep you updated as we implement the Akamai platform, and please know we sincerely appreciate your patience and support along the way. We look forward to providing you a world-class CDN experience in 2011.

    About the Author

    This is a post written and contributed by George Israel.


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    • http://lindekleiv.com/ Olav

      Perfect timing, Rackspace! Your services are unbeatable. Thanks :-)

    • Brian

      Will there be support for HTTPS CNAMEs? It seems like a dead area in the cloud, but the ability to upload a certificate and have a secured custom CDN URL would be amazing.

      • random1

        probably not, since ssl certificates require dedicated IPs, and SSL SNI support is not too widespread yet.

        hopefully the ssl domain name is whitelabel.

    • Scott

      Is this in addition too, LimeLight Networks or has that partnership ended? Will the cost of services remain the same, or are we likely to see an increase in price?

      We were always told that Rackspace were working on a CNAME solution – it seems like a long wait to find out that you are starting all over again.

      That being said I am glad you will finally have all the features of a proper CDN so I can bring my business back to Rackspace.

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    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Brian- We will not be supporting HTTPS CNAMEs right away. Like you mentioned, combining those two features has some real complexity to it. Our very first goal is to get SSL and CNAMEs released separately, then we will continue to explore our options for combining them.

      Scott- The price for our services will not change. In fact, we recently dropped the price of our CDN outgoing bandwidth to $0.18, which we will continue to offer with Akamai. I’m glad to hear that these feature will allow you to do business with Rackspace again. We can’t wait to have you back!

      Keep the questions coming, we are happy to help!

      • http://www.igivefirst.com Chris Love

        When will SSL CDN be supported?

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    • Mark

      Will you support setting up custom expire header (instead of the current max of 3 days)

    • http://www.munzandmore.com Frank Munz

      There is a striking example in my book about how the usage of CDNs can improve classical Java EE applications with static content. Congrats for this decision to RS. Since many large companies use Akamai already, moving to Rackspace Cloud Files will be a much smaller step for them.

      best,

      Frank


      Middleware and Cloud Computing

    • Robert

      Will there eventually be support for custom origins (like using cloud servers) vs. using CloudFiles? This would avoid the need to move content to CloudFiles and streamline publishing quite a bit.

    • Al

      Will you have access to all the akamai edge locations including asia? Every pop in India, SG, HK etc? Or will it be enabled on a case by case basis?

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    • Angela Gann

      As part of the new features / migration, will be still be stuck with a 1-level directory structure, or will we be able to nest folders? With the number of assets across businesses, this typically results in a mess.

      Will the CNAME be per account, or per container? For instance, can we have in one container and http://widgetsforyou.com in another container to more closely brand across businesses?

      The article mentioned “new urls”. How will the format change?

      We have not used Cloud Files as a CDN for many of the reasons in the article and in this comment. I’m excited about these developments though and I hope we can use the CDN features in the near future. ;)

    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Mark- We will support expire headers over 3 days. In fact, you can set them using our API anywhere from 15 minutes to 50 years. They can even be set with the granularity of seconds.

      Robert- We have explored offering CDN with custom origins like you’ve explained. However, we don’t have any real timelines around that yet, as our first priority it to get key features like SSL and CNAMEs out to the Cloud Files customers that have patiently been waiting for quite some time.

    • http://twitter.com/kaiyzen kaiyzen

      Can we get a bullet list of the new features coming from the dozens of developers, or at least a link to the appropriate dev community feature tracker entries? And are the the features coming soon as in Q1, or in 2011?

    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Angela- Cloud Files will still not offer nested folders. There are, however, some third party tools that allow you to create file structures that plug into Cloud Files. I do understand that they aren’t options for all companies, though.

      As for CNAMEs, we will offer them on a per container basis. The current URL structure is a container hash (e.g. c012348), followed by your region (cdn1), followed by our domain names.

      So, what will change?
      The new URLs will have your container, your region, an additional shard (allows us to more granularity with our monitoring and controls) and a new domain. We will be using rackcdn.com in the future.

      I would like to make sure you know that your existing URLs will continue to work. The new URLs won’t be needed until you want to implement new features like SSL and CNAMEs.

      Al- Our Cloud Files users will have access to ALL Akamai Points of Presence (POPs)

    • Sebby

      This is good, I’ve been meaning to evaluate CloudFiles again especially with regard to large objects. And now, my questions:

      1. Why was Limelight dropped for CDN services, or is that an impudent question?

      2. Will you be offering IPv6 on your CDN endpoints, even if it’s optional? I consider it a requirement now.

      3. Will you support pre-population of objects to edge locations, or is there always a per-region initial fetch from the US? A lot of my users are not in the US.

      Cheers,
      Sabahattin

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    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Sebby- We are still working with Akamai to handle Ipv6 and we do not support any pre-populating at this time. As our customers segments continue to grow around the world, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the need for features like this.

      Kaiyzen- Sorry I missed you earlier. At this time we are committing to producing the items mentioned in the blog for our CDN product. The best place for product news is always our blog. Unofficially, you can join #cloudfiles at irc.freenode.net to connect with some Cloud Files developers.

      Hope that helps!

    • Mark

      Megan, When will can we expect this custom expire header setting?

    • http://rob.olmos.name Rob Olmos

      Will this new setup support custom Access-Control-Allow-Origin headers?

      Related thread: https://forums.aws.amazon.com/thread.jspa?threadID=34281

      This is required for resources such as webfonts.

    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Mark- You can currently set your TTL as high as 50 years in our API. This sets the expires header AND the cache control. The cache control is limited to 72 hours, which means that every three days the cache control will check to see if the content has been updated. The experience you get is though your browser is caching, one request every three days will be slower because the network is checking with the origin for updates because of the cache control limits. Once we have customers on the Akamai network, we can increase the limits on the cache control.

      Rob- We don’t have any specific dates for a feature like this, but we’ve investigated solving the same problem described in this post. The more requests we get for a feature like this, the more likely it is to get development time assigned to it. You can contribute your product ideas at feedback.rackspacecloud.com for all Rackspace Cloud products.

    • Mark

      Megan, what we need is a ability to set cache control as far as 1 year. The reason for doing this is to increase the frontend response. Setting TTL for 1 year but cache control for 72 hours dont help

    • http://www.groovypost.com MrGroove

      That’s a shame you wont have CNAMES on your CDN until Q2… The last word from your sales team was Q1. Hopefully you can pull up the feature into Q1.

    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Mark- I understand the frustration, and I think others share it with you. We will address the cache control limits once customers have been migrated to Akamai.

      MrGroove- I am sorry for the mixed messages, but unfortunately, we won’t have CNAMEs before Q2 2011.

    • http://www.msnbc.com Steve Wallers

      Limelight sez “ooff”.. the only problem with this is that Akamai is the most expensive CDN (by far) so ultimately RAX customers will pay.. it’s really to bad LLNW couldn’t sort this out with RAX

    • Pete Teler

      Megan

      Seems like you dont want to directly answer the question about Limelight and whether or not this new Akamai agreement displaces your legacy relationship with Limelight. I think its important that Rackspace makes it clear if there are two resold/integrated CDN choices for customers or just one? Can you please address this point specifically and let us all know what is the status with Limelight/Rackspace on a going forward basis? What happens with existing customers using Limelight/Rackspace? Will those customers need to move over to the Akamai platform to see all these new features/benefits? Seems like a good idea to work with multiple CDNs ande give customers a choice so let us know.

      Thanks

      Pete

    • http://www.brandrichmedia.com BrandRich

      Will Akamai enforce their 60-day cancellation notice policy to your customers?

    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Pete- I don’t mean to be evasive. Rackspace does plan to transition the Cloud Files product line to Akamai, however, we will continue to use Limelight to help us provide our customers with a great service experience.

      BrandRich- No, Cloud Files customers can currently and will continue to be able to enable and disable their CDN services as they please.

    • Pavel

      Are you planning to add default root object support along with CNAMEs?

    • http://rackspacecloud.com Megan Wohlford

      Pavel- We don’t currently have plans to add this feature, but we are always open to add highly requested features to our list. As mentioned above, you can make feature requests for all Rackspace Cloud products at feedback.rackspacecloud.com.

    • Tom Kao

      I noticed reference to “X-User-Agent-ACL” and “X-Referrer-ACL” are removed from current API document (see page 2). I wonder if they are deprecated due to the transition from Limelight to Akamai?

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    • Tom

      Hi

      Do you have any visibility on the launch date for CNAME, other than ‘Q2′.

      Also, will you be bringing your service in line with AWS who now offer the ability to host static websites with custom default root objects and 404 errors etc.

      Thanks
      Tom.

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    • http://www.jiniom.com jinishans

      Hey – I’m using right now Cloud Files to host my static website. Is it already using AKAMAI / still limelight…?

      Also, it was mentioned in above replies that CNAME for Cloud Files will be available in Q2, but it’s already Q3, Sep 2nd, I dont’ see that option to set CNAME for any of my container. Is CNAME feature is yet to be released / I’m not looking at the right place.

      Also, how can i have my PHP file in Cloud Files container, execute it from a different server

    • Dolph

      Support for CNAME’s was officially announced on April 27, 2011, see:

    • http://www.blogster.com/jozanderk86/know-how-concerning-tummy-tuck-consequences-in-addition-to-lots-of-benefits Rafaela Froozy

      What is the average start up cost for a high profile website?

    • Jerry

      Rackspace Cloudfiles looks great but without custom origin, or at least the ability to set headers much more easily than each individual file, it is almost unusable. Seriously, without one or both of those features, I don’t even know how a small site uses it. Any time line on custom origin?

    • Drew Broadley

      Hi there,

      I notice things are now through the Akamai Edge network, but things are still being served from the US/Asia for countries like Australia and New Zealand.

      When will these nodes be used so we can serve from a national node in NZ/AU ?