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Summary:

Rackspace unveiled its OnMetal cloud servers at Structure today. The servers, developed from Open Compute Project hardware, come in three different configurations, each tailored to handle a specific task.

Taylor Rhodes Rackspace Structure 2014

Cloud storage provider Rackspace is making its long-awaited Open Compute hardware available to the public with the launch of its OnMetal cloud servers, operating with the help of OpenStack, the company plans to announce Thursday at Structure.

The single-tenant servers, manufactured by the folks from Quanta, come in three different flavors, each specializing in a specific area: processing power, storage capabilities, or the ability to handle applications that need a lot of RAM.

Rackspace’s new server lineup addresses the noise-related problems that occur in multitenant servers, in which a power-hungry user could potentially hog the machine’s resources, said Rackspace president Taylor Rhodes.

“One of [the customers] usually gets a better deal even though they pay the same,” Rhodes said. “Unpredictability is the biggest issue with the public cloud.”

Servers from Dell and HP, with their one-size-fits all models, don’t necessarily fit for what companies like Google or Facebook need; through the Open Compute project, Facebook was able to craft the exact machine it wanted to handle its specifications without any excess features. Using the Open Compute project as a template, Rackspace developed its new OnMetal servers as a way to provide cost-effective machines to potential clients who don’t need all the bells and whistles of the more commoditized servers in the marketplace.

The new server news comes at a time when Rackspace is facing intense competition from the likes of Amazon Web Services and Google. In May, Rackspace hired Morgan Stanley to advise on possible business options for the company, leaving many to wonder if it is looking for a corporate suitor.

The servers will be available next month in the Rackspace Northern Virginia region.

Watch Rackspace’s full announcement below:

Photo by Jakub Mosur

Structure 2014 ticker

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1 Comment

  1. This is an interesting announcement for a few reasons:

    1) It’s true that VMs generally provide bad performance for high i/o applications, particularly databases. There are various ways to mitigate this such as using high IOPS drives like AWS EBS PIOPS or SSD backed storage from Google/Digital Ocean.

    2) This is using OpenCompute and is all open source and going to be released, so they can take advantage of the efficiencies of that hardware architecture.

    3) It gives you quick access to physical servers connected to your cloud environment. Benefits of flexibility/scalability with the benefits of hardware. This seems to be how they’re differentiating against Softlayer who have bare metal servers available via API, but they’re billed monthly and take a few hours to provision (which is still pretty impressive).

    However, there is no pricing announced – this will be key.

    Also, will this start to eat into their managed services perhaps? Anticipating disruption?