Wow! 2012 has been a great year for the open cloud at Rackspace. Actually, it’s been the year of the open cloud for us and our customers. Over the past few months, our vision of what the open cloud can mean has really gained momentum — we’ve launched Cloud Databases, Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack, Cloud Monitoring and a new Cloud Control Panel. Also, just last week, we made Cloud Block Storage available to all of our customers. And we’re not done yet.
We plan to drive this momentum by continuing to leverage open technology to bring solutions to market that truly help solve our customers immediate business needs. With that said, we'd like to mark the culmination of 2012 with another great announcement.
Today, we make an exciting new feature available on our next-generation Cloud Servers: Cloud Networks!
What is Cloud Networks?
Cloud Networks allows you to create isolated, multi-tiered networks on our Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack, all with the click of a button. It greatly simplifies networking in the cloud. Cloud Networks allows you to:
- Enhance the network security for your Cloud Servers by running web application and database servers on an isolated network to filter illegitimate traffic from your web server(s).
- Increase the agility of complex applications by controlling and managing your application tiers. Cloud-aware applications can now not only control compute and storage resources, they can create networks and add resources to secure networks as needed.
- Improve the scalability and ensure the higher availability of your servers by building clusters with broadcast and multicast – supported by Cloud Networks
Best of all, we've placed no restrictions on your isolated networks. With Cloud Networks, you're free to design virtual networks that look like traditional Layer 2 networks in both architecture and function, without restrictions to capabilities such as broadcast and multicast.
What is the technology behind Cloud Networks?
Historically, the networking architecture for the Rackspace Cloud has provided access to the Internet via PublicNet and inter-server communication through a "private" network called ServiceNet. ServiceNet allows you to access services like Backup, Storage and Monitoring. Like most other cloud hosting providers using traditional networking, this type of architecture (called a flat network) doesn't allow for network segmentation or the ability to completely isolate mission-critical data from external threats.
By leveraging Open vSwitch managed by Nicira’s Network Virtualization Platform, we replaced traditional network bridges in our cloud network architecture and enabled software-defined networking for enhanced network security in the cloud.
Creating an isolated network
You will be able to create an isolated network by simply clicking the “Create Network” button when provisioning a next generation Cloud Server in the Cloud Control Panel:
You’ll then have the opportunity to name your network and create it together with your new server instance (or just select one if you have previously created it).
When can I get it?
We are gradually phasing in the availability of Cloud Networks across our cloud infrastructure to avoid performance degradation and to maintain an appropriate level of service and Fanatical Support. If you don’t have access to it today, you definitely will in the near future. However, if you’re as excited as we are about Cloud Networks and just can’t wait to have it rolled out to your environment, you can request access now by visiting https://www.iwantcloudnetworks.com/ and completing the simple request form. We will review your request and provide you with access as soon as possible.
Please note that Cloud Networks is currently only available for next-generation Cloud Servers at creation time. We’re actively working to enable Cloud Networks for existing, next-generation Cloud Servers and anticipate availability soon. In the meantime, if you are a next-generation Cloud Servers customer and you would like to use Cloud Networks for an existing server, you can simply create a snapshot of your server and then build a new server from that snapshot. Be aware that your server IP address will change during this process.
Now, where it gets really exciting is when we take Cloud Networks to the next level by adding virtual appliances and allowing you to create advanced, networking configurations spanning multiple regions.
This is only the beginning for the open cloud at Rackspace. Stay tuned!
To learn more about Cloud Networks and how you can use them in your environment, check back soon for a post that takes a deeper dive into the use cases for Cloud Networks.