Maintaining host files on standard *nix system has been traditionally done by hand. This becomes a challenge as the number of systems grows and is more true in the cloud model, where you might add/delete servers at a higher rate. One solution would be to use DNS and use a local zone to store your host name to IP mapping. If you are using Chef for automation, here is another example on how to automatically generate the host file entries.
Over the past few months we have been working hard to provide more automation capabilities for the Rackspace Cloud. In November we told you about Auto Scale, which allows you to define rules to grow or shrink your cloud. Back in August we told you about Deployments, a Control Panel capability that allows you to deploy common applications with a point-and-click interface and based on our best practices.
Rackspace Cloud Deployment Services give you the ability to easily deploy applications and frameworks to the Rackspace Open Cloud. This lets you focus on code instead of architecting and deploying separate production, staging and development environments.
Many companies – large, small, public, private, start-ups – are looking into test automation, continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) to get their code to customers as efficiently as possible, while not sacrificing quality or reliability. They realize that automation is essential for them to scale up and be competitive.
Today we launched Auto Scale, one of the most exciting new features of the Rackspace Cloud. Auto Scale is the easiest way to make your Rackspace Cloud react automatically to changes in the demand your users place on your application. By creating a few simple rules based on thresholds that you define and control, you let us know when and how to grow (or shrink) the web or application tiers in your cloud.
Our philosophy of “social automation” led to a desire for anyone to be able to contribute to the automation scripts and blueprints used by the Deployment Services. We have been able to take our Rackers’ knowledge and best practices around applications and frameworks and store that in code that can deploy a full-fledged configuration. Additionally, if something unexpected occurs while the automation is running, which causes a failure in the process, we want to allow a person to intervene, pause the automation engine and manually take over. Find out more in this video below.
Developers know the importance of having separate environments for development, staging and production, but they also know that it is a pain to set them up. Furthermore, it is hard to guarantee the consistency in each of these environments; when code fails in production you may hear, “But it worked in staging!” only to realize that the two environments were not identical. Rackspace Deployment Services aims to solve this issue by providing a simple, repeatable and automatic way to set up cloud environments for applications and frameworks. Find out more in this video below.
This past week we had a special Cloud Office Hours, where we got to interview some of the engineers behind the Rackspace Deployment Services. We recently launched this service in our Cloud Control Panel, enabling users to automatically deploy infrastructure for popular apps, frameworks and building blocks of the cloud using tried-and-true best practices. I cover some of the highlights below, but this is going to be one Hangout that you don’t want to miss and I encourage you to watch the entire video embedded at the bottom of the post.
With the arrival of Deployments in the Control Panel, you now have the ability to easily deploy applications and frameworks to the cloud. This allows developers to focus on their code instead of spending time architecting and setting up their production, test, or development environments. But people want to know, is this service ready for prime time?