Rackspace evolves OpenStack Governance

March 16, 2011

One of the trickiest things to get right in an open source project is the governance model.  Who makes up the various boards and gets what authority is something struggled over and something that virtually no one gets right straight out of the gate.  Its particularly interesting if you are a commercial entity sponsoring a project and want to maintain a certain amount of influence over the endeavor but also want it to grow and flourish.

Two weeks ago Jonathan Bryce, Rackspace cloud co-founder and one of the leads of the OpenStack project policy board, announced the changes that were being made to OpenStack’s governance.

I ran into Jonathan on Monday during South by Southwest and sat down with him to get some more insight into what the changes were and why they were being made.

Some of the ground Jonathan covers:

  • From Mosso to Rackspace cloud to OpenStack
  • How they’ve been surprised by the great uptake by the community and how this has led them to evolve the governance structure.
  • What the various boards are and what their make up will be
  • Which roles will be 6-month stints.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..

Talking to the Co-Founder of Rackspace Cloud

August 25, 2009

Earlier this month at Cloud World/Open World I bumped into Jonathan Bryce one of the two founders of the cloud platform formerly known as “Mosso”  (now known as Rackspace Cloud). 

Last year when I interviewed Jonathan, I did an audio podcast.  This time around I was armed with my Flip Mino and caught it all on video for the little(r) screen.

Some of the topics Jonathan addresses:

  • When Rackspace funded employees Jonathan and Todd to go off and start their cloud venture 4 years ago, why didn’t they brand it “Rackspace?”
  • Why did they recently decide to roll Mosso back into the mothership and rebrand it?
  • The progression of in-house -> colocation -> managed hosting -> cloud.
  • The three pieces of Rackspace Cloud: Cloud Servers & Cloud Files (infrastructure as a service) and Cloud Sites (platform as a service with the option of using either the LAMP or .NET stack).
  • Which offering is getting the most traction.
  • Why their customer Fresh Books went with Cloud Files.

Pau for now…

Talkin’ to Mosso Co-founder, Todd Morey

May 1, 2009

Last year I did a podcast with Mosso (“The Rackspace Cloud”) co-founder Jonathan Bryce.  Last Saturday at  Cloud Camp Austin I caught up with the other co-counder of Mosso, Todd Morey to get his side of the story.

Some of the topics Todd tackles:

  • How Todd and Jonathan formed a good partnership, Todd on UI and design and Jonathan on the development side.
  • Starting Mosso out of a desire to have place where they could run their code without having to worry about the infrastructure.
  • Mosso’s integration back into Rackspace
  • Will Mosso bring some of its hipness to Rackspace? (editorial note: looking at the Rackspace’s site it looks like Mosso has already influenced it for the better)

Pau for now…

Live from Cloud Connect: David Berlind

January 22, 2009

Ok well maybe its not live but here’s a short (3:34) video I shot yesterday with David Berlind, the man behind Cloud Connect.  The conference kicked off Tuesday night and continues, as I type, until this evening.

To watch in High Quality: after clicking play, click the “HQ” button that will appear on the bottom.

This video was shot right in the middle of the “speed geeking” section yesterday where attendees visited nine different cloud demos being presented by the sponsors: Amazon Web Services, IBM, Mosso, Google, Right Scale and Salesforce.com.

In the Video David talks about

  • The idea behind Cloud Connect and whats going on
  • Where the cloud works best
  • His predictions for whats going to happen in the cloud space in ’09 (hint, watch out for the big boys).

But wait, there’s more…

If you’re interested in hearing more from Cloud connect Check back here over the next week since I’ll be posting about six more videos as well as an audio podcast with the founder of Google Apps.

Pau for now…

The Cloud — Looking back at ’08 and forward to ’09: Taking with Rackspace’s Head of Strategy

January 7, 2009

I first met Lew Moorman, Rackspace’s Chief strategy officer, at Rackspace’s big Cloud Event back in October.  It was at this event that Rackspace, through acquisitions as well their friendly annexation of  Mosso, positioned itself as a major cloud player.

I caught up with Lew during the slow time over the holidays and we chatted about his thoughts and predictions for Cloud Computing.


Lew, a self-portrait (lifted from his twitter page)

Take a listen:

>> My talk with Lew (13:18): Listen (mp3) Listen (ogg)

Some of the Topics we tackle:

  • The reason cloud computing is getting all the attention it is is because it represents the paradigm shift of consuming IT as a service.
  • The cloud is all about consuming your IT over the web, on the WAN as opposed to the LAN, from a centralized provider and you don’t have a concept of the assets that are being used to deliver that IT.
  • How the recessionary environment is helping to speed along the adoption of the cloud.
  • How Rackspace plays in all three areas of cloud computing: Infrastructure as a Service (storage and compute power are the cornerstones), Platform as Service (the ability to deploy code on ready-made platform) and Applications as a Service (aka SAAS).
  • Is “Internal Cloud” an oxymoron?
  • Which type of players are likely to be the winners in this space.

Pau for now…

Rackspace’s CTO John Engates and his “Cloudy” thoughts

November 11, 2008

Last but not least in the three podcasts I taped at the Rackspace Customer Event is my conversation with John Engates, Rackspace CTO.  Like Lanham and Jonathan, John was a very approachable and likable guy.  I checked out John’s presentation earlier in the day and then caught up with him in the afternoon to chat.

Take a listen:

>> My talk with John (20:11): Listen (mp3) Listen (ogg)


The radiant John Engates.

Some of the Topics we tackle:

  • John’s definition or “characteristics” of the cloud
  • The various shades of the cloud and who plays where
  • Why Amazon has gone with such geeky names e.g. EC2, S3, AWS
  • Making the cloud accessible so that you don’t need a comp sci degree to use it
  • The Microsoft announcement and why they’re a natural fit
  • The founding and evolution of Mosso
  • Combining hosting elements and cloud elements (Blueprint leverages both)
  • The pitfalls of the cloud, real and perceived (and what is a “server hugger”)

Pau for now…

Chattin’ with Mosso co-founder, Jonathan Bryce

November 10, 2008

At the Rackspace Customer Event the week before last, I caught up with Mosso co-founder Jonathan Bryce.  Jonathan walked me through how Mosso, now officially a Rackspace division, got started and where he sees it going.

Take a listen:

>> My chat with Jonathan (10:52):  Listen (mp3) Listen (ogg)


Jonathan chillin’ in the Baroque Westin Riverwalk lobby.

Some of the Topics we tackle:

  • How while at Rackspace, Jonathan and a buddy moonlighted as web app developers and when they couldn’t find a place to host the apps and sites they developed, they got funding from Rackspace and created Mosso.
  • How Mosso was being founded as people were getting burned by the undelivered promises of Utility computing.
  • How Jonathan defines cloud computing (hint: it has three layers).
  • The characteristics and examples of IaaA, PaaS, SaaS and where Rackspace/Mosso plays.
  • The joy of 15 cents a GB per month storage that Mosso will be providing and which Blueprint will be leveraging in our next release.
  • The relationship between Rackspace and Mosso and why the Mosso site is so much cooler.
  • What role open source plays in the Cloud and Mosso.


If you want to catch Jonathan live, he will be presenting at the Cloud Computing expo in San Jose November 19 – 21.

Pau for now..

Talkin’ with Rackspace’s CEO Lanham Napier about the Cloud and Hosting

November 6, 2008

Last week I attended the Rackspace customer event down in San Antonio.  On the first day of the event I was able to grab sometime with Rackspace’s CEO, Lanham Napier.  We chatted about going public, the company’s recent acquisitions and its foray into the cloud via Mosso.

Take a listen:

>> My Interview with Lanham (8:11): Listen (mp3) Listen (ogg)


CFO turned CEO, Lanham Napier (who sounds like someone famous)

Some of the Topics we tackle:

  • What does Rackspace do and what’s the company’s ultimate goal.
  • Why Rackspace decided to IPO in the choppy seas of August.
  • How the company decided on SliceHost and JungleDisk as acquisition targets
  • Rackspace’s two service sets, Managed Hosting and Cloud Hosting, and what’s the difference (Blueprint utilizes both)
  • Lanham’s thoughts on Microsoft’s Cloud announcement and the relationship between the two companies.

But wait, there’s more

Stay tuned, in the next few days I will be posting the other two podcasts I did last week, one with  CTO John Engates as well as one with Mosso co-founder Jonathan Bryce.

Pau for now…

Splitting the Cloud in Three

November 4, 2008

Last week I attended the Rackspace Customer Event (Lombardi Blueprint is hosted at Rackspace) down on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  It was a great event and I sat in on some cool talks as well as grabbed some time with several of the Rackspace execs.

Later this week and/or early next week I will be posting the podcasts I did with CEO Lanham Napier, CTO John Engates as well as Mosso co-founder Jonathan Bryce.


The Riverwalk at dusk.

One of the talks I sat in on was CTO John Engates’ Cloud Computing presentation.  You can check out the whole presentation here, but the section I wanted to call out was the one that dealt with “The Categories of Cloud Computing.” While not an original construct, it helped me to see it laid out like this:

Application Clouds (SaaS)

  • Ease of use: Low complexity
  • Flexibility: Minimal control
  • Typical Consumers: End users
  • Examples: Mail Trust, Salesfore.com, Blueprint, TurboTax Online, Microsoft Online Services

Platform Clouds (PaaS*)

  • Ease of use: Medium complexity
  • Flexibility: Medium control
  • Typical Consumers: Developers
  • Examples: Rackspace/Mosso Hosting Cloud, Google AppEngine, Force.com, Azure

Infrastructure Clouds (IaaS)

  • Ease of use: High complexity
  • Flexibility: Maximum control
  • Typical Customers: Developers, System Administrators
  • Examples: Rackspace/Mosso Cloud Files, EC2, S3, Microsoft SSDS, FlexiScale, GoGrid

*Not to be confused with PAAS.

While I find these categories helpful now, I’m sure it won’t be long until these divisions go the way of “intranet,” “extranet,” and “internet,” and there’s just one big happy cloud.


Where it all began“The Original Cloud” TM.

Pau for now…

Pics and Notes from Rackspace’s Cloud Event

October 23, 2008

Yesterday a little before noon I jumped in my car and headed to UT to attend the Rackspace Cloud Event.  It was held on campus in the same building that “hosts” (bad pun intended) the local NPR station as well as the studio that Austin City Limits is filmed in.  It was this studio that Rackspace used for their event.

Others who’ve used the studio besides Rackspace, The Buena Vista Social Club and Robert Plant (notice the reflected PBS logo artfully captured in the upper left)

The Big News

The big news of the day were the two acquisitions that the recently IPO’d Rackspace announced, Jungle Disk and Slicehost.  Jungle Disk provides storage back-up for the cloud and until the acquisition, was solely supporting Amazon S3.  Going forward, Jungle disk will support both Rackspace’s cloud offering as well as S3.  The other company, Slicehost is “a leader in Xen-based virtual hosting.”

One of the most tangible benefits these acquisitions give Rackspace right off the bat is a whole bunch more “active, paying customers”:

It would be interesting to see this same chart done by revenue.  I have a sneaking feeling the managed hosting side would go shooting off the chart. Of course once you have new customers you can always look to up-sell them.

Mosso aka Rackspace’s Cloud Hosting Divsion

Mosso is now refered to as “Rackspace’s Cloud Hosting Division, powered by Mosso.”  It will be interesting to see how they handle the branding transition going forward and if they drop the Mosso name completely.  Speaking of Mosso, I didn’t realize it, but in chatting with Emil Sayegh, formerly Rackspace’s VP of product management and Marketing and now the Mosso GM, Mosso was originally an incubator project of Rackspace’s, funded a couple of years ago.

As of yesterday, this division is now organized into three buckets:

  • Cloud Sites (formerly “The Hosting cloud”): “a scalable platform for [web sites] for handling huge traffic spikes and a pay as-you-grow pricing model.”
  • Cloud Files (formerly “CloudFS”):  Rackspace’s cloud-based storage.  This is where Jungle Disk will fit.  Lombardi Blueprint will be making use of this when we add file attachment capability to the product in our December release.
  • Cloud Servers:

Slicehost founders Jason Seats and Matt Tanase.

The Bigger Picture

Zooming out to high-level view of Rackspace’s portfolio, its grouped into three main bubbles:

  • Cloud Hosting: Which yesterday’s event focused on.
  • Cloud Applications: Apps that Rackspace provides like email
  • Managed Hosting: “an advanced type of dedicated hosting… Unlike basic dedicated hosting, managed hosting offers system level administration and support, comprehensive Internet infrastructure and extensive services that relieve IT departments of many critical, but costly responsibilities.”  (We use this service to host Lombardi Blueprint).

Looks like Cloud hosting has bubbled to the top.

Rackspace Customer Event

I’m  psyched for next week’s customer conference down in San Antonio and learning more about what Rackspace is up to.  I met a few of the execs yesterday and warned them that I would come armed with a recorder to do some podcasting.  I will be posting those here on the blog so stay tuned.

Extra-credit reading

I ran into Red Monk Pundit Michael Cote yesterday, sporting a very sharp shirt,  and had a quick chat after the event.  Here’s his take and pics from the event.

Pau for now…

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