What’s This Docker All About?  

Back in 1998, a small company called VMware was the first to successfully virtualize the x86 infrastructure, and in 2004 it became a part of EMC. Today, virtualization is as commonplace as The Phoenix Project books on the bookshelves of IT workers. Many organizations and service providers rely on virtualized environment to run their workloads, and VMware’s technology saved their customers’ huge sums of money they would to otherwise use to buy additional hardware. In the last 16 years, technology has come a long way, bringing with it new requirements to deploy applications quickly, across any device, platform, or cloud infrastructure.

Enter Docker. Founded in 2013 as a side project at dotCloud, Docker allows developers to “containerize” their applications, and run processes in isolation. That means that the app no longer needs to rely on an operating system or disk &etc. Docker still runs on a Linux kernel, however, everything else is completely isolated and independent of the operating system. Docker now works across many public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Rackspace and others.

What does this all mean to all of us? Well, for one thing, it will make applications even more portable, developers and DevOps engineers will be able to quickly and easily move applications from public to private clouds, from on-premise to someone’s laptop. Second, it will be easier to engineer fast application deployment. Thirdly, it will allow even more resource optimization, taking the next step of VMware started 16 years ago.

Are we living in an app-driven world? Absolutely. And Docker, valued at around $400m, is living proof.

Rackspace and the open cloud

OpenStack t-shirt

If Amazon Web Services represents the cloud computing establishment, Rackspace Hosting wants to be the cool alternative. A comparison based on data from 2010 shows AWS with by far the largest chunk of the infrastructure-as-a-service space, at $500 to $700 million. Rackspace came in a distant second with $100 million.

But Rackspace argues there’s good reason to choose it over its larger rival. The company’s CEO, Lew Moorman is fighting AWS by warning businesspeople of the dangers of being locked in to that company’s cloud. Once a company’s operations are tied up with a particular cloud infrastructure, he argues, it’s hard to disentangle them if you want to choose a different vendor.

Rackspace’s proposed solution lies in the world of open-source. The company joined with NASA two years ago to launch OpenStack, and Moorman says more than 180 companies are now participating in the development of the new structure. Rackspace plans to shift its public cloud to the OpenStack codebase this summer, and other companies can use the same code as they please, creating what many hope could be a more competitive cloud landscape.

Aside from the guts of its systems, Rackspace promotes its customer service as a major selling point. Its trademarked “Fanatical Support” includes a promise that you can speak to a live person round the clock and that staff actually know what they’re talking about instead of just reading from a script.

So far, Rackspace has done quite well for itself. Its net revenues rose from $781 million in 2010 to just over $1 billion in 2011, and its stock price skyrocketed from $10 a share at its 2008 IPO to nearly $60 this spring. (It’s since fallen but remains above $40.)

Photo credit: H. Michael Karshis/Flickr

A Look At The Major Cloud Computing Players – Rackspace

Today we complete our look at Cloud Computing with Rackspace, a lesser-known but very important company in the Cloud realm.


Rackspace is similar to Amazon Web Services – they offer specific cloud based solutions aimed at the technical side of your business (the IT department).  Like Amazon Web Services, they offer flexible pricing plans and server space that can be expanded or contracted in a matter of minutes.

In Conclusion:

Cloud Computing is an exciting area of growth for the technology sector, and we hope these snapshots of the major players have allowed you to get a better handle on what exists currently in Cloud Computing – and a hint of what you can expect in the future!