Why Should I Use Cloud Files?


There are a number of reasons to choose the Cloud Files service over similar services available in the market.

  • Simplicity of CDN functionality.
  • Utility pricing - paying only for what you use, after you use it.
  • Multiple APIs for developers to choose from.
  • Fast and reliable performance.
  • World class support

 

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Simplicity

Cloud Files is simple to use for developers and non-developers alike. Users can get started in as little as five minutes. Users do not have to know how to code to use Cloud Files and CDN. Users can, within minutes, sign up for Cloud Files, create a Container, upload a file and publish that Container's content through the CDN (Refer to "Cloud Files with CDN QuickStart guide". The Cloud Files GUI is easy to navigate and use. Rackspace browser based control panel let users easily upload files and distribute on a CDN without writing any code.

All the content can be backed by a CDN without complex negotiations and details of updating content for optimizing delivery. Given the complexity of the CDN, users may have to make a series of choices such as number of servers to use etc. before obtaining the service. After making the choices users must ensure the usage bills are accurate. All these issues are handled by Cloud Files. CDNs have, in the past, been the prerogative of companies with more money but Cloud Files has changed that.

Cloud Files is a user and developer friendly service. Security mechanisms described in more detail in the Security section are simple to use. Third party tools which further simplify use of the storage service are available. Developers can use a language specific application programming interfaces to develop utilities or applications. The API's are easy to use and are documented with examples to get started quickly.

Affordability

Pricing for Cloud Files with CDN is comprised of the amount of total data you have stored (per GB), and the amount of bandwidth used to serve the data (outbound bandwidth only, charged per GB to any edge location on the CDN around the globe). There are no 'per request' fees for CDN.  The current pricing for Cloud Files can always be found on our website.

 

Flexibility

Cloud Files is a dynamically expanding storage system very flexible and is built on the pay for use principle. Customers can use as much or little storage as necessary, while paying only for storage space used. There is no limit on total space use and individual files can range in size from a few bytes to extremely large. The GUI control panel allows users to check storage space used and bandwidth utilized. There are no upfront fees or contracts and end users pay only for storage space used and outgoing bandwidth that they use.

System administrators can use this for simple manual updates as well. Users do not have to know how to code to use Cloud Files and CDN. No API is required to share files. Non-developers have a simple web-interface, that can be used to quickly and easily upload data and enable CDN access. There are multiple third party tools (refer to Tools and Applications section) which make it even more flexible for users of specific environments such as the Mac OS.

Developers can use the ReST web service and language-speicifc API's in PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, and C#/.NET. The API's provide full support for managing content in Cloud Files and publishing content over the CDN. The API allow developers to work in the language they feel most comfortable

Superior performance

Rackspace has built networks with superior performance for years. The Akamai CDN capability improves the performance further for distribution of digital content. In short, Akamai can bring data closer to end users and serve popular content faster.

World Class support

With Cloud Files world-class free technical support is only a click away. Live support, with real people is available 24/7. Fanatical Support is built into the price. Users can get peace of mind knowing that technical support is just a phone call or online chat away - at any time of the day.

 

Data Redundancy

The Cloud Files storage system is designed to be highly available and fault tolerant. Cloud Files achieves client data redundancy by replicating three full copies on different storage nodes. Storage nodes are grouped in logical Zones within Rackspace datacenters. Zones are connected to redundant Internet backbone providers and reside on redundant power supplies and generators. The system has been engineered in such a way as to continue to by fully functional even in the event of a major service disruption within a Datacenter. Content on the CDN provides an additional layer of data redundancy.

 

Security

Cloud Files uses a number of different measures to ensure that your data is kept safe. First and foremost, all traffic between clients and the Cloud Files system uses SSL to establish a secure, encrypted communication channel. This ensures that any data (usernames, passwords, and content) cannot be intercepted and read by a third-party. Users authenticate with a valid username and API Access Key and are granted a session authentication token. These authentication tokens are used to validate all operations against Cloud Files. There is no way to terminate a valid session by the user, but the session tokens will automatically expire after 24 hours, forcing clients to resend their credentials.

The API Access Key is only available from within the Rackspace Cloud's control panel. Users must enter their valid username and password to gain access to view the API Access Key or to generate a new key.

It is important to note that Cloud Files does not apply any transformations to data before storing it. This means that Cloud Files *will not* store data in encrypted form unless the client encrypts it prior to transmission. This allows users to select the type and level of encryption best suited for their application.

When deleting storage Objects from the Cloud Files system, all copies of data are permanently removed within a matter of minutes. Furthermore, the physical blocks making up the customer's data is zeroed over before that space is re-used for other customer data. In other words, after a delete request, the data will be unrecoverable.

 



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