Open source has made waves in the cloud at the software level, particularly with the popularity of Rackspace's OpenStack. Cloud storage companies have turned to OpenStack to avoid vendor lock-in and for simplicity in provisioning cloud resources without sacrificing functionality. Rackspace made another significant contribution to the open cloud framework by releasing freely available software designed specifically for private cloud deployments. Code-named "Alamo," the solution was built on the same principles as OpenStack technology and was powered by it as well. The solution's configuration includes the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS host operating system and a KVM hypervisor.

"We believe that the majority of our customers and cloud users will be running hybrid cloud environments for a long time," said Jim Curry, general manager of private cloud business at Rackspace.  "Today's announcement allows businesses to utilize their existing investment in their own datacenter resources to run an open cloud solution for additional control and customization and also take advantage of Rackspace's datacenter options."

One of the advantages of solutions such as OpenStack is that they are designed for accessibility so companies without platform-specific expertise can get things up and running quickly. While the heavy focus is placed on streamlining deployment, the solution offers robust functionality and high level of customization to meet the needs of a wide range of providers. Rackspace's private cloud solution also benefits from continued support and enhancements, making it a powerful tool in the cloud provider's arsenal. For example, Rackspace enhanced the offering in November to expand volume for block storage and improve resource pool management for object-level storage.

Cloud providers can further enhance the benefits of highly flexible software by using equally robust infrastructure. Custom server and storage solutions built by Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance partners combined with Rackspace Private Cloud Software allow partners and resellers to move up the stack and craft unique solutions to offer private clouds to both SMB and large enterprise customers.

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