Rackspace recently announced new pricing and support options for their cloud servers. What’s exciting isn’t the actual pricing, though it’s slightly cheaper than before for those customers that have multiple cloud servers. What I think is great-and right in line with the different needs of teams looking to optimize their cloud infrastructure-is that Rackspace is offering two levels of managed service on top of their infrastructure-as-a-service:

  1. A Systems Administrator type managed service, where they run all your cloud operations for you “sysadmin style”-interacting manually with your servers in a traditional way
  2. A DevOps Automation Service, where they automate your application environment to the level of “treating your infrastructure as code”

I believe Rackspace is offering these two very different managed services because they recognize that there are still a lot of teams out there with somewhat of a “legacy mindset.” These teams operate with something like a “system administrator” type approach, where you login to a server and manually perform tasks like installing software, updating packages or configuring servers.

In relation to my “Stages of Cloud Migration & Implementation” continuum (see graphic), the “sysadmin” service fits nicely with the “cut/paste” stage of cloud implementation. These teams are likely to be using cloud servers because they offer greater “flexibility” versus physical servers, but essentially they’re still treating servers like pets rather than cattle. That is, they not only care for them with various manual tasks, but also they expect them to be around a long time.

Likewise, more and more teams are successfully using automation and have reached the “consistent configuration deployment” or “partially cloud-aware” stage. These folks are potentially more ready to take advantage of the Rackspace “DevOps Automation” managed service, where Rackspace will automate your cloud infrastructure to make it more ephemeral (spin-up, spin-down, etc.). We created Bitlancer Strings to get companies to this stage.

Then there are those teams that have achieved a fully “cloud-aware” mindset and have super ephemeral stacks, are using Docker/containers, etc. These teams are most likely beyond the need for either of these Rackspace services. (Though I bet it won’t be long before Rackspace creates new services to meet their needs, too.)

All this is very much in alignment with my observation that some businesses (those that are treating their cloud infrastructure like code) are “too mature” for our Bitlancer Strings software. Whereas many other teams may not even be ready to take advantage of Strings without some coaching-as indicated by the fact that Rackspace sees market demand for a “sysadmin” type managed service in the first place.

UPDATE: Bitlancer Strings is now open source. For more information, visit Strings Documentation on Github.