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Summary:

Rackspace’s new OpenStack-powered Cloud Block Storage comes in spinning disk and faster SSD tiers and lets customers mix and match block size with compute instances as needed, says company CTO John Engates.

Rackspace continued to roll out pieces of its OpenStack cloud Tuesday with the debut of Cloud Block Storage.

Rackspace CTO John Engates

Unlike its current non-OpenStack storage, this offering lets customers mix and match sizes of block storage volumes as needed with their compute instances. “We used to offer block storage associated with our cloud servers but it came in pre-defined bundles — large servers got a lot of storage, small servers got a small amount. This decouples that decision,” Rackspace CTO John Engates said in an interview.

And, unlike Amazon Rackspace offers both a traditional disk-based tier for $0.15 per GB per month and faster solid state disk (SSD)-based storage, for $0.70 per GB per month.  Snapshots cost an additional $0.10 per GB per month.

Amazon’s analogous  Elastic Block Storage (EBS) is $0.10 per GB/month for provisioned storage for standard volumes,  or $0.125 per GB/month for provisioned IOPS volumes. But Amazon also charges for I/O. Amazon does not offer an SSD EBS tier, although starting this summer it did initiate new “High I/O Quadruple Extra Large” compute instances that use SSD to store and retrieve data fast

Solid-state storage has become an important part of the cloud equation with many vendors. It is very fast, and its coming down in price, but it’s still far more expensive than traditional “spinning disks.”

Rackspace hopes to parlay its OpenStack cloud implementation to challenge Amazon in public cloud and other competitors — including others in the OpenStack camp — in private cloud infrastructure.  A report last week that retail giant Walmart is using Rackspace’s OpenStack cloud to power its big data analysis efforts has buoyed the company. Neither Walmart nor Rackspace will comment on the report which came from William Blair analyst Jim Breen.

  1. This looks like it is directly targeted towards AWS EBS volumes – PlanForCloud have done a cost comparison of AWS vs Rackspace for EBS vs standard cloud block storage vs EBS standard AND SSD vs PIOPS: http://blog.planforcloud.com/2012/10/cost-comparison-rackspace-cloud-block.html

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  2. It’s good to have the choice between high I/O SSDs for the likes of databases and cheaper spinning disks for general disk storage. However, this is still a shared platform which will get busier as more customers use it. It’s also over the network which provides further latency and other ways to fail.

    I like that they don’t bill based on the number of operations performed which adds a “black magic” effect when calculating pricing for Amazon’s EBS product. However, the provisioned IOPs product Amazon now have offers a guaranteed level of performance which should guarantee you against other customers using the same storage facility. Predictability is the most important thing for performance so that might give Amazon the edge here.

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  3. Ill be glad when they move cloud servers off the sata drives to sas drives at least. Its nice they offer customers for managed and intensive SSD option, but improve the common folks usage of clud servers as well.

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