Rackspace Acquires Cloudkick for Cloud Server Management Software

December 17, 2010 Off By Hoofer
Grazed from eWeek.  Author: Fahmida Y. Rashid.

Rackspace will acquire Cloudkick, developer of a cloud-server management portal, to expand its cloud monitoring portfolio, Rackspace confirmed on Dec. 16.

With cloud computing, organizations can quickly and efficiently launch new servers, but in the automated cloud environment organizations can end up using server resources inefficiently and can "even lose track of some," said Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer of Rackspace. "Cloudkick brings order to that chaos and sprawl" and makes cloud computing "more powerful with less expense," he said.

Cloudkick creates Web applications with all the information and controls in one dashboard, helping developers and system administrators deploy and manage their cloud environments, said Rackspace. The Web-based dashboard is like a "cockpit" with instruments and controls that provide information about all the servers in the organization, even for a hybrid environment that includes both multitenant virtualized servers and dedicated hardware or cloud server environments running across multiple providers.

Cloudkick provides "robust cloud health" information, and enables automation around deployment and scaling, said Moorman.

Cloudkick is currently cloud-agnostic, and works whether the service is from Rackspace, Amazon Web Services or any other provider. Rackspace will continue to make the tool available directly to customers, and Cloudkick customers will continue to be able to use the Web portal to manage non-Rackspace environments, Cloudkick wrote on its blog.

"We are committed to continuing support for multiple clouds within the Cloudkick tools," Cloudkick wrote.

To support the momentum that Cloudkick has created, Rackspace will continue to use the Cloudkick brand, a Rackspace spokesperson told eWEEK.

Cloudkick’s team has big plans post-acquisition. The monitoring and management tools will become more sophisticated, "capable of keeping an eye on, literally, entire clouds at once," Cloudkick wrote. The user experience will become deeply integrated into existing and new Rackspace products, according to the blog.

The acquisition expands Rackspace’s team and product portfolio to make IT infrastructure management "more seamless across various platforms," said Moorman.

Rackspace will integrate Cloudkick’s product into Rackspace Cloud so that the "superior management tools" are available to "Rackers"—Rackspace customers—the company said. Cloudkick customers will also gain access to Rackspace’s "Fanatical Support" service and additional products, Cloudkick said.

"We built Cloudkick to make the lives of system administrators easier," said Alex Polvi, founder of Cloudkick.

As a result of the acquisition, all basic monitoring checks, including HTTP, HTTPS, PING/ICMP, SSH, DNS and TCP, are now "100 percent free" on an unlimited number of servers for all accounts, said Cloudkick. This free feature allows administrators to perform "any amount of basic checks" on an "unlimited number of your servers" on any cloud and data center, from a single interface, Cloudkick wrote.

The accounts range from the "free forever" developer plan to the 1,000-server plan, according to the blog post. While the current offerings will remain the same for the "foreseeable" future, no decisions have been made about keeping the "free forever" accounts for the long-term future, said the Rackspace spokesperson.

The Cloudkick product road map is in ongoing development and will be closely aligned with its integration into the Rackspace portfolio, according to the Rackspace spokesperson.

Cloudkick, a San Francisco-based startup, has more than 1,500 customers and its tools have been used on more than a million servers, according to Rackspace. The customer list includes Mozilla and National Instruments. Cloudkick is also an active member of the OpenStack community, an open-source cloud project jointly led by Rackspace and NASA to foster the emergence of technology standards and cloud interoperability.

Originally a managed hosting provider, Rackspace has been focusing on cloud computing and hybrid hosting recently with Rackspace Cloud and the CloudConnect service. The company also announced Cloud Servers, a managed cloud offering, earlier this week. With Cloud Servers, customers receive proactive monitoring of cloud computing environments and troubleshooting services.  

Cloud Servers includes operating system and application infrastructure support, including Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS 5.5, Apache, MySQL, PHP, .NET/IIS and Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition 2008 R2.

Rackspace will also expand its presence in San Francisco by turning Cloudkick’s headquarters into "the latest outpost" for its Fanatical Support services, the company said. Cloudkick currently has 12 employees but said it is hiring new staffers.

The acquisition closed Dec. 15. Financial details were not disclosed.