Rackspace takes on Amazon with cloud server, storage services

Online services available through Rackspace's Mosso division

Amazon has a new competitor in the cloud computing arena, with Rackspace debuting pay-as-you-go server instances and an online storage service.

Rackspace, which unveiled a cloud storage service in beta mode last May, this week took the storage service out of beta and introduced "Cloud Servers," rounding out a suite of on-demand storage and computing programs similar to those available from Amazon Web Services.

Rackspace offers the online services through its Mosso division. A third service called Cloud Sites is designed to help customers quickly load applications onto the Web where they are hosted on "advanced clustered technology designed for high-traffic, high-performance websites."

Mosso General Manager Emil Sayegh blogged about the new releases this week, boasting of a "comprehensive offering combining a server and storage on-demand service as well as a .NET and LAMP platform-as-a-service offer. You can use our familiar control panel to instantly size your compute capacity, add a site, consume storage, and -- best of all -- pay only for what you use."

Cloud Servers will be available starting Monday, with prices starting at one and a half cents per hour, or US$10.95 per month. But the service is not as mature as Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud just yet, with Mosso noting that "our Cloud Server APIs are not quite ready for this debut -- but they'll follow soon afterwards."

Cloud Servers lets customers run applications on a variety of Linux platforms, but does not yet support Windows. Amazon already offers a variety of Windows, Linux and OpenSolaris distributions.

The Rackspace storage service, Cloud Files, exited beta mode Wednesday. Customers can store files as large as 5GB, with all data being replicated across three locations. Pricing starts at 15 cents per GB.

In a related announcement the Rackspace-owned Jungle Disk, a service that integrates cloud storage into a local file system, is now supporting Rackspace's Cloud Files as well as Amazon's Simple Storage Service. Previously, Jungle Disk supported only Amazon.

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