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SOASTA: Next Generation Rackspace Cloud Is All About Speed, Capacity

This is a guest blog post written and contributed by Tom Lounibos, president and CEO of SOASTA, makers of the CloudTest platform for functional and performance testing of web and mobile applications. SOASTA is a Rackspace customer and is participating in the beta for Rackspace Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack.

Like Maverick and Goose in “Top Gun,” we at SOASTA feel the need … the need for speed. The quicker we are, the more tests we can run. We could also tweak that line a little bit and say we also have the need for capacity. For us, the two go hand-in-hand.

On a day-to-day basis, we access thousands of servers for testing applications – often in production – across data centers, geographies and service providers. At last tally our Global Test Cloud comprised about 350,000 servers from 17 service providers in 47 different locations. We run a lot of tests, and we need a lot of capacity. And we’re always looking for more.

Think of it like this: on an average day we may be looking for thousands of cloud servers to simulate millions of web site visitors. We are a massive user of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

We rely heavily on being able to quickly provision and release servers and we require a reliable, cost-effective way to start, stop and manage servers. To automate the process, we leverage APIs from our cloud vendors.

During the process of load and performance testing mobile and web apps, our customers simulate what would happen to their applications or sites during a major traffic crunch or spike. As part of that, SOASTA has used Rackspace Cloud Servers for a number of years for our testing. Whether it was Verizon testing in preparation of an iPhone launch, or Hallmark ensuring it could handle the Valentine’s Day load, it’s imperative that we represent reality and show real traffic patterns. That requires good test development, various locations and capacity.

Working with the OpenStack API we can spin up and tear down servers quickly and easily. We can run large-scale tests and still maintain simplicity and reliability. Rackspace’s next generation cloud powered by OpenStack will enable us to be more efficient in our testing, which, in turn, will make our business more efficient.

And being built on OpenStack and open standards is the icing on the cake. Historically, the cloud has been about utilizing big data centers in fewer locations, this has changed over time and OpenStack opens up the promise of a lot more locations with servers.

Leveraging the API that helps us connect to the Rackspace Cloud and clouds and servers from some of the world’s other leading vendors makes spinning up and taking down capacity a breeze. Having more capacity is available with common APIs means fewer moving parts and better helps us fulfill our vision.

Today we can provision 1,000 servers in seven or eight minutes, which means our customers can do more testing. More customers mean more capacity. And ultimately our testing must remain reliable and we’ll get that by having the confidence that we’re leveraging a cloud that is stable and mature. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Rackspace.


About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Andrew Hickey.

Andrew Hickey is chief blog editor at Rackspace, a role in which he helps Rackers, customers and partners tell their stories. Andrew comes to Rackspace following many years as a journalist, more than half of which were spent covering high tech and Rackspace. When not writing, Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife and his dog, and spinning punk rock vinyl. If you have an idea for the Rackspace Blog, track down Andrew at andrew.hickey@rackspace.com.


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