As part of their OpenStack RV tour, The nice folks at Rackspace Cloud took a long detour on the way back home and talked to our Cloud Computing Group in Boulder, CO yesterday about OpenStack. In the middle of the talk it finally hit me (quite a bit later than others, it seems) that this is really going to change *everything*. Here's why...
As I type this, the lead story on http://money.cnn.com/ reads "AMAZON CRASH ZAPS WEBSITES" (their choice of all caps). Ouch. The outage has kept Reddit, HootSuite, Foursquare and lots of other sites offline for the better part of the day. Double ouch.
But... but... isn't "The Cloud" about keeping your site up at all times? Doesn't it make that easy? Isn't that one of the primary reasons to use Cloud hosting? Absolutely.
Having cross-Cloud backups running on a nightly basis is recommended for any business, regardless of size. Although doing backups is fairly trivial, there are a lot of gotchas that come into play when dealing in the Cloud, especially if you want to move files from one Cloud provider to another. In this post, we'd like to share processes and code that we use when backing clients up from Rackspace CloudFiles to Amazon S3.
A common concern that many of our clients have brought to us is a hesitance to migrate existing applications into the Cloud. They see the promise of the Cloud -- lower cost, infinite scalability, and high availability, but they believe that migrating their legacy apps into the Cloud will be expensive, time consuming and distracting. In short, they view a migration as a big risk, even if there is a big reward. We understand those concerns, but our experience has been that a migration to the Cloud can be quick and pain free.
An Interesting Study was just released today by O'Reilly/Bitcurrent which confirms exactly what we've been telling anyone willing to listen -- Rackspace Cloud is upwards of 10x faster than Amazon's EC2 for Disk I/O and CPU.
Amazon's EBS solution is the big dog here.
(image property of O'Reilly -- read the full article here)
Larry Ellison has stated that Cloud Computing is "everything that we already do", and In many ways, I totally agree. The big difference is that Cloud-based technologies let us do everything much faster, smarter, and often at a greatly reduced cost.
Cloud Computing encompasses a lot of areas (and we go into more detail below), but whether you're talking about Google Apps or AWS, "the Cloud" brings some very disruptive changes. Here's the broad strokes:
Everyone who knows Rackspace usually has two comments about them -- "Fantastic support" (they brand it "Fanatic Support") and "Expensive". With their Cloud Servers offering, they're putting the final nails in the coffin of the "Expensive" comment.
We've been hosting multiple domains (including this site) on their Rackspace Cloud (RSC) Servers for several months, and I could not be more pleased. You still get the "Fanatical Support", unlimited 24x7 Chat & Phone support, and you pay a whole lot less... for a better product.