Systems Management, Simplified in the Cloud
ScaleXtreme seamlessly transitions to the open cloud with Rackspace.
CUSTOMER'S BUSINESS: ScaleXtreme offers systems monitoring and management software that allows customers to view all of their servers through a single unified interface.
CHALLENGES: The company was seeking a simple solution for both enterprise customers and those new to the cloud; they also sought a stable and scalable platform for their own testing and development.
BUSINESS OUTCOME: The company’s transition to next generation Cloud Servers was completely seamless, involving no coding.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., ScaleXtreme offers systems monitoring and management software that allows companies to view both internal and cloud-based servers and systems through a single pane of glass. In addition to this federated view, the application allows customers to monitor their servers, automate jobs across multiple systems, patch and update Windows and Linux systems, and control spending on servers.
A Rackspace Cloud Tools partner, the company was an early adopter of Rackspace next generation Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack®. In upholding its motto, “Simplicity, scalability, and sociability,” ScaleXtreme has found the next-generation servers to be a perfect complement to their own offerings, requiring no coding to adopt and offering a range of improvements.
An early adopter of the next-gen servers, ScaleXtreme’s developers and engineers were immediately impressed. CEO Nand Mulchandani says, “We started working with the Rackspace technical team very early on, when they had very early versions of it. One of the things we found right away is that it’s completely standards-compliant. We actually didn’t need to make any changes to Open-Stack APIs or providers to work seamlessly with Rackspace."
This is an atypical experience for the ScaleXtreme team. Because ScaleXtreme’s application allows customers to monitor servers hosted by a variety of cloud providers, its engineers generally have their hands full whenever a new provider or product comes along. “For a new proprietary provider, who has proprietary APIs and interface, it literally takes us months of engineering time to have our two systems talk together,” Mulchandani says.
By contrast, Mulchandani says, “Working with the new Rackspace system has been easy. Because the new Rackspace systems are all based on the OpenStack standard, and because ScaleXtreme was supporting OpenStack from the very beginning, making the two systems talk to each other was a matter of simply pointing at the new APIs and the new standard system and just testing it. Everything just worked, right out of the box. It was so easy to do that it was basically a non-event for us.”
SIMPLICITY AND SPEED
In addition to its out-of-the-box compatibility, the next-generation servers’ new interface impressed Mulchandani. “The UI itself is much richer,” he says, “much simpler, and a lot faster. I think customers will find it to be a completely new experience, although they’re not going to have to go through any learning curves around the core functionality itself.”
This ease-of-use has led Mulchandani to recommend Rackspace to cloud-computing newbies. “One of the things we highly recommend to customers is that, of all the cloud computing systems out there, we’ve found that Rackspace is one of the easiest to use, and the most approachable one to get into,” he says. “The combination of Rackspace with ScaleXtreme is probably the easiest and simplest way to get into cloud computing.”
Though simple enough for newcomers to cloud computing, Rackspace is stable and scalable enough for the enterprises ScaleXtreme also serves, and the company itself relies on Rackspace. “All of our test and development at ScaleXtreme runs on Rackspace, because of the scalability and the predictability of the platform,” says Mulchandani. “That’s been a very big win for us.”
Director of Engineering Karthik Ram echoes Mulchandani’s praise. “We’re impressed with the speed and performance of Rackspace next-gen Cloud Servers,” he says. “The API is remarkably reliable and we can be comfortable with its stability thanks to its OpenStack heritage.”
The constant availability of support also puts the ScaleXtreme team at ease, though they’ve rarely had to take advantage of it. “Fanatical Support® is definitely there,” Mulchandani says. “We actually haven’t had to call Rackspace support very often, as it’s been an extremely stable platform, very open.”
AN OPEN CLOUD
Mulchandani feels that Rackspace’s use of a nonproprietary infrastructure fulfills the original promise of cloud computing. “The promise of the cloud is to get away from a locked-down, proprietary system, and for systems of data to move freely,” he says. “A major platform vendor like Rackspace adopting OpenStack has enabled an ecosystem of partners and tools and products to grow around it, so that there’s a high level of interoperability. Customers can feel comfortable, because all of a sudden now there isn’t this onerous lock-in that cloud computing was supposed to get rid of in the first place.”
Ram agrees, saying, “This may be one of the first infrastructure-as-a-service offerings to take full advantage of the power of open standards, and we’re excited to be using it.”
ScaleXtreme’s enthusiasm for Rackspace shows no signs of waning. “Working with the team has been fantastic,” Mulchandani says, “from the marketing teams, to the system development teams, to the solution partner programs. It’s been an absolutely great experience.”
The company’s relationship with Rackspace continues with a place in Rackspace’s Marketplace, where ScaleXtreme offers a systems-management application that supports both generations of Rackspace servers. According to Mulchandani, “Within minutes, you can be managing your systems and discovering new things about what you can do with the new Cloud Servers you’ll be launching at Rackspace.”
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