Migrating To The Rackspace Open Cloud

Filed in Cloud Industry Insights by The Rackspace Cloud Solutions Engineering Team | June 6, 2013 3:00 pm

There are many solutions to consider as you migrate to the cloud. Here are a few key points that are invaluable when integrating Rackspace services into your application. Our goal is to ensure your move to the Rackspace Cloud is a smooth and successful transition.

Fanatical Support®

The relationship between customers and Rackers is at the very core of the Fanatical Support experience. By working together to build a resilient and scalable Open Cloud architecture from the beginning, we’re actively redefining how to best leverage cloud. Let’s collaborate from day one on a solution that makes the most sense for your applications instead of relying on last-minute heroics when your business can least afford it.

Getting started with the Rackspace Open Cloud™

This guide will familiarize you with everything you need to know as you start to use The Rackspace Open Cloud. The entry point is our Control Panel; please feel free to check out the Control Panel documentation[1] or watch the demo video[2]. If you prefer to use the RESTful API or language-specific SDKs to interface with the cloud directly, you can find more information at the developer portal[3].

If you are hungry for more please feel free to explore the guides for:

Availability zones

Since Rackspace guaranties that our data center network will be available 100% of the time in any given monthly billing period, excluding scheduled maintenance, you don’t need to use Availability Zones to maintain a high uptime.  We do, however, split our host servers into groups called cells. Each cell is on its own L2 network for both the public and ServiceNet networks. This separation helps prevent certain types of network interruptions from affecting all servers in a given data center.

We have multiple geographically separated regions in which you can build Cloud Servers[8]. These include Dallas, Chicago, London, and soon Sydney. By mirroring your infrastructure between datacenters, you can achieve higher availability of your application. You can also store backups of your data to Cloud Files[9] in a remote region to enable availability of your data as part of your disaster recovery plan.

Persistence

Our Cloud Server instances, provisioned on RAID10-backed hosts, have persistent storage which only goes away if the instance is deleted. Additionally we offer persistent Cloud Block Storage which is independent of the server instances and can be detached and reattached to a different server instance if needed. Public and ServiceNet IP addresses are yours for the life of the instance, however if you delete the instance an IP is assigned to, that IP is returned to the pool for other customers to use. Regardless of what storage methods you’re using, we recommend setting up backups and clustering your instances for greater redundancy and uptime.

Key pairs

SSH key pairs are not used by default, however you can inject files into your Cloud Server instance during the build process to distribute your keys, configuration files, or make any other small deviations from the image. This is useful if you’re spinning up servers programmatically and need to pass unique configuration parameters to each of them at build time. You can also simply add your key pair to a server and take an image of the server, then every new server built from that image will be easily accessible using your SSH key.

Security groups

Firewalling is done at the Cloud Server instance level by utilizing a software firewall such as iptables or Windows Firewall. We also offer hardware firewall options via our RackConnect[10]® solution as well as third party security vendors like CloudPassage[11], Dome9[12], CloudSMS[13], and CloudFlare[14]. As an additional layer of security, isolated networks can be created to allow for secure network communication among Rackspace Cloud instances.

Pricing and billing

Rackspace has a much simpler billing structure for our services. We do not bill you based on the number of IO operations you make or the number of API calls made. Cloud Files, for example, is simply billed based on your monthly storage usage and outbound bandwidth and has the unique benefit of tiered pricing[15]. Cloud Load Balancers[16] are billed based on the average number of concurrent users throughout the month. You’ll also want to be aware that our RedHat Linux distributions have an additional monthly fee for the licensing. We also sell additional IPv4 addresses for SSL usage.

Flavors

We have simple flavors that scale disk, memory, CPU, and network throughput together as the flavor size increases. Should you want to increase your disk size without increasing other resources, we would recommend attaching a Cloud Block Storage[17] volume (either SATA or SSD) to your instance. Additionally, if your application has specific performance or security requirements that demand dedicated gear, we would suggest leveraging RackConnect[18]. As a powerful hybrid solution, RackConnect allows you to blend your highly customizable bare metal configuration with Rackspace’s elastic cloud infrastructure.

Message queuing

Message queuing services are available from Rackspace solution partners, such as Iron.io[19] and their IronMQ product[20]. Porting is generally straightforward, and IronMQ offers performance and consistency at least equivalent to SQS. Iron.io offers SDKs for major languages, such as Ruby[21], Python[22], PHP[23], Java[24], Clojure[25], and Go[26]. You may also opt to use your own message broker, such as RabbitMQ[27], which can run on your own Cloud Servers.

Autoscaling

Autoscaling, like disaster recovery, is not currently innate to the Cloud Servers product. To build an environment that scales resources up and down based on load, we recommend using a third party solution such as RightScale[28], Scalr[29], or ScaleXtreme[30] available through our Rackspace Cloud Tools Marketplace. Alternatively, you can work with Cloud Monitoring[31], Service Registry[32], and Chef[33] or Puppet[34] to configure a similar self-aware environment that reacts to the demands of your application. Regardless of your scaling solution, it will be imperative that you’re architecting for horizontal growth.

Testing resources

It is very important to test all configurations before using them as a production environment. If you have a preferred method for testing, please use what you are comfortable with. If not, there are a number of great third-party tools available for you to use such as Blitz IO[35], LoadStorm[36], and Soasta[37].

Now you’re ready to get going on the Rackspace Open Cloud. As always, we’re here to help you if you need it. Happy migrating!

ANY USE OR CHANGES TO THIRD PARTY PRODUCTS AND/OR CONFIGURATIONS SHOULD BE MADE AT THE DISCRETION OF YOUR ADMINISTRATORS AND SUBJECT TO THE APPLICABLE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SUCH THIRD PARTY. EVEN THOUGH RACKSPACE PROVIDES THIS INFORMATION FOR HOW YOU MAY DEPLOY THIRD PARTY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ON THE RACKSPACE CLOUD, RACKSPACE DOES NOT PROVIDE TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR THIRD PARTY PRODUCTS, OTHER THAN SPECIFIED IN YOUR HOSTING SERVICES AGREEMENT YOU HAVE SIGNED WITH RACKSPACE AND RACKSPACE ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIRD-PARTY PRODUCTS.

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Endnotes:
  1. documentation: http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/article/introducing-the-next-generation-cloud-control-panel
  2. video: http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/video/rackspace-cloud-essentials-1-control-panel-demo
  3. developer portal: http://developer.rackspace.com
  4. Cloud Servers: http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/getting-started/cloud-servers
  5. Load Balancers : http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/getting-started/cloud-load-balancers
  6. Block Storage: http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/getting-started/cloud-block-storage
  7. Cloud Files: http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/getting-started/cloud-files-0
  8. Cloud Servers: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/servers/
  9. Cloud Files: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/files/
  10. RackConnect: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/hybrid/dedicated_cloud/rackconnect/
  11. CloudPassage: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/519?679906624
  12. Dome9: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/485?731547587
  13. CloudSMS: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/477?957614187
  14. CloudFlare: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/291?1533172747
  15. tiered pricing: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/lower-open-cloud-pricing/
  16. Cloud Load Balancers: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/load-balancing/
  17. Cloud Block Storage: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/block-storage/
  18. RackConnect: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/hybrid/dedicated_cloud/rackconnect/
  19. Iron.io: http://www.iron.io/
  20. IronMQ product: http://www.iron.io/mq
  21. Ruby: https://github.com/iron-io/iron_mq_ruby
  22. Python: https://github.com/iron-io/iron_mq_python
  23. PHP: https://github.com/iron-io/iron_mq_php
  24. Java: https://github.com/iron-io/iron_mq_java
  25. Clojure: https://github.com/iron-io/iron_mq_clojure
  26. Go: https://github.com/iron-io/iron_go
  27. RabbitMQ: http://www.rabbitmq.com/
  28. RightScale: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/263?1423937273
  29. Scalr: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/475?1311769249
  30. ScaleXtreme: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/491?602839450
  31. Cloud Monitoring: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/monitoring/
  32. Service Registry: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/keep-track-of-your-services-and-applications-with-the-new-rackspace-service-registry/
  33. Chef: https://cloudtools.rackspace.com/apps/309?80064204
  34. Puppet: https://puppetlabs.com/
  35. Blitz IO: https://www.blitz.io/
  36. LoadStorm: http://loadstorm.com/
  37. Soasta: http://www.soasta.com

Source URL: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/migrating-to-the-rackspace-open-cloud/