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F5 BIG-IP Solution Enables Rackspace Customers to Integrate Cloud Hosting

Innovative solution enables bi-directional provisioning of dedicated servers and cloud resources at wire speed

F5 Networks on Wednesday announced that Rackspace chose F5 BIG-IP products as the foundation for its innovative Cloud Connect service. Cloud Connect is a hybrid architecture that allows customers to mix dedicated and cloud based hosting platforms for scalability, flexibility, and efficiency. With an F5 BIG-IP solution, Rackspace customers can provision resources, secure and manage network traffic, and balance workloads in real time among the two environments.

"We chose BIG-IP as a cornerstone of Cloud Connect because with it, we can make our customers' dedicated servers and cloud environments communicate seamlessly with each other over a protected, private network," said Toby Owen, Product Manager for Hybrid Hosting Solutions at Rackspace. "This solution does much more than provide a physical connection; it allows customers to take advantage of BIG-IP's intelligent traffic management capabilities between dedicated and cloud servers. Furthermore, BIG-IP has already proven itself as a reliable and cost effective component of our infrastructure."

Rackspace's primary focus is to provide a world-class service experience to its customers through its brand of customer service called Fanatical Support. To better meet its customers' needs, the company wanted to develop a hosting solution that was a mix of its managed and cloud hosting offerings. With Cloud Connect, Rackspace customers gain cloud computing benefits without the burden of rewriting their entire application to adapt to the cloud. Cloud Connect is especially useful for companies that experience seasonal traffic spikes. For example, an e-commerce company can now respond to peak demand periods by "bursting" a predetermined segment of its operations-such as its web catalog-to run in the cloud, while keeping its payment processing on highly secure, dedicated servers, all within a Rackspace data center.

"We are pleased to be part of Rackspace's Cloud Connect service," said Jason Needham, Senior Director, Product Management at F5 Networks. "Rackspace's enterprise customers can receive great benefit from their ability to access cloud based resources safely on demand."

Details

Rackspace offers its customers a full range of BIG-IP devices with Local Traffic Manager (LTM). An initial setup process connects the customer's dedicated servers to its cloud account, enabling BIG-IP products to act as a strategic control point between the environments. As cloud services are provisioned or deprovisioned on demand, BIG-IP products automatically connect to dedicated resources, directing traffic to the appropriate application and web pools based on business requirements.

Rackspace leverages F5's open application programming interface (API) solution, iControl, to automate connections between the dedicated and cloud environments. "Because of iControl, our time to market for this new service capability was less than three months," added Owen. "The F5 technology provides a straightforward, rapid service development environment."

Cloud Connect also enhances security, because the iControl API allows communication between cloud and dedicated environments, and contains features that prevent unauthorized access. User connections, data packets, and application data are routed through the BIG-IP device to and from the cloud environment, and are managed according to specific business policies, helping to ensure, for instance, that confidential data such as credit card information is isolated and protected on dedicated, managed database servers.

For more information on Cloud Connect, please visit the Rackspace website and check out the blog entry on F5's DevCentral site.

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