For Rackspace, OpenStack helps dispel customer's lock-in fears

According to Rackspace, OpenStack is the antidote for cloud lock-in. But is that enough to lure away Amazon and Google customers?

As one of the co-creators of OpenStack, an open source operating system for building clouds, Rackspace Inc. is understandably bullish on the prospect of an open cloud. According to Rackspace, OpenStack is the antidote for cloud lock-in. But is that enough to lure away the legions of customers using proprietary clouds, such as Amazon's and Google's?

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In this week-in-review podcast, site editor Jessica Scarpati and news writer Gina Narcisi discuss what's new on for the week of August 13. Tune in as they discuss:

The following is a transcript of the podcast.

Jessica Scarpati: You're listening to Cloud Cast Weekly, a podcast by I'm Jessica Scarpati, site editor of, and with me in the podcast studio is our news writer, Gina Narcisi. Gina, thanks as always for joining us today.

Gina Narcisi: Thanks for having me, as always.

Scarpati: We're here to give you a quick wrap up of everything that's new on the site this week. Gina, let's kick it off as usual with your new story.

Narcisi: OK, this week I wrote about Rackspace and how OpenStack is going to be used in their cloud services to their customers. This is hopefully going to sort of revolutionize the cloud industry a little bit, because instead of a customer getting locked in with, say, somebody like Amazon as their cloud provider with something like OpenStack in the background, customers will sort of have better interoperability because they'll be able to move from different cloud providers if their using OpenStack as well. They'll also be able to use it in their own data center, so a private cloud or even a hybrid cloud environment.

Scarpati: So Rackspace sees this as a competitive advantage for them, right?

Narcisi: Definitely. In a way they're competing with Amazon, Google and providers like that, but in a way, they're also very different because they're offering more openness as opposed to proprietary software.

Scarpati: It's funny that you say that, because it seems like all the providers are saying like, "No, we're not competing with Amazon." They're mortified or scandalized if you suggest it. At the same time, it's like they are doing all these things that everyone keeps saying like, "They're going head to head with Amazon now." You spoke to their CTO, right?

Narcisi: I did. John Engates. He told me a little bit about what they're calling Open Cloud, obviously, which is the open source project. It's compatible with other clouds on the market. Already HP signed on, and a few other people are putting it also into production. It should be interesting to see who signs on.

Scarpati: Especially with OpenStack, it seems like, with any open source project, it's only as valuable as the community that builds up around it.

Narcisi: Right, definitely. You definitely want to have as many providers as possible just because it makes it easier for the customer. They have more choices.

Scarpati: When I was reading your story, I was actually going back to the one you did a few weeks ago about Citrix and CloudStack and OpenStack. Things are, it seems, getting kind of confusing out there.

Narcisi: It does, for sure. I feel like everyone's trying to add more to the cloud. It's still so fairly new to everyone that they're still trying to figure out what we're going to do differently.

Scarpati: Awesome. Thanks so much, Gina.

Narcisi: Thanks for having me.

Scarpati: When should you re-architect an application for the cloud? That sounds like it should be followed by a punchline. Hopefully, someone somewhere is writing a good one for us. But it's a legitimate question cloud providers have to ask themselves. It's the topic of a feature we ran this week entitled, "Cloud Application Architectures: When to Redesign an App for the Cloud."

Legacy application aren't designed for the cloud. We know that. Some of them can be re-architected for the cloud, but that doesn't mean they all should be. Figuring out which category your customer's decade-old ERP app falls under, well, that's where things get a little tricky. Check out the story to find out how cloud providers such as IBM, CSC and Layered Tech are dealing with this issue.

Also, this week, we delve into the agony and the ecstasy of the U.S. government's Cloud Security Initiative, the federal risk and authorization management program also known as FedRAMP. Any cloud provider even thinking about doing business with government agencies should take a look at this guest column by Dave Svec, co-founder and co-principal of Veris Group. A cyber security consultancy ended an accredited third-party assessment organization or 3PAO for FedRAMP. You thought just tech geeks loved their acronyms.

If you want in on government customers, 3PAO essentially hold the keys to the kingdom. As part of the FedRAMP process, cloud providers must use a 3PAO to independently validate that it's met the FedRAMP requirements.

Dave gives us an insider's look at some of the dos and don'ts of becoming a FedRAMP authorized cloud provider. He outlines both the strategic success factors to making it through the process and some of the technical obstacles he's seen cloud providers run into. Give it a read and be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below the story.

That's all that we have for this week. Be sure to check out all the articles we talked about and more on Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next week.

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