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Rackspace Wants the Windows Cloud Market

While Rackspace typically emphasizes that its infrastructure as a service is now based on the open-source OpenStack cloud platform, the hosting provider still has a vested and significant interest in Windows. In addition to offering SharePoint hosting and development services, many of its customers use the Rackspace cloud to run Windows-based apps. The company also points to the improved Hyper-V support in Grizzly, the latest update to the OpenStack cloud OS released last month.

Now Rackspace is trying to make it more attractive to have Windows apps run in its OpenStack environment. The company earlier this month added new tools to help IT pros and developers alike build and manage .NET applications. Among them are Rackspace's PowerClient, a Powershell-based API client for the company's public cloud and the Rackspace Cloud SDK for Microsoft.NET.

"Now you can start seamlessly and easily integrating your applications into your Windows cloud environments," said Cole Humphreys, a Rackspace senior product marketing manager in a blog post. PowerClient is intended for those who want to build custom Microsoft Powershell-based cmdlets.

While Rackspace and OpenStack have a CLI known as NovaClient (for Nova compute), it's Python-based and designed to run natively in most Linux environments. NovaClient can work with Windows as well but it's not optimized for that OS, wrote Rackspace sales engineer Mitch Robins in a description of PowerClient posted to Github.

For systems administrators and IT pros responsible for ensuring uptime, implementing tools designed to run natively in Linux can be a difficult process in Windows, he noted. "You want to be able to use natively supported and functional tools, without the potential headache of having something fail because it wasn't meant for use within the Windows eco-system."

Designed to run on Rackspace OpenStack cloud servers today, Robins signaled that the roadmap calls for it working in any OpenStack environment in the future, however the OpenStack Foundation hasn't established a timeframe for that.

Meanwhile Rackspace is looking for .NET developers to build modern apps designed for mobile environments where the company sees much of the demand for its cloud services. A Rackspace survey found that 82 percent of IT decision makers believe mobile apps will become a standard method of accessing enterprise data and 28 percent say they will build their own enterprise app stores.

"The trend is toward more and more mobile apps and we are in the early stages," said Rackspace CTO John Engates, who also noted that 84 percent access to information at any time from any place while 55 percent said the cloud and mobile devices are enabling that.

To bring .NET developers into the fold, the Rackspace Cloud SDK for Microsoft.NET library runs from within Microsoft's free Visual Web Developer Express 2012 tool using its integrated NuGet extension manager.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/14/2013 at 4:59 PM


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