Rackspace boosts cloud offerings with monitoring service

Cloud Monitoring will first be used to keep track of websites and Web applications

Rackspace has released Cloud Monitoring, which includes an API designed to give users flexibility in monitoring websites and Web applications that run on a variety of platforms, the company said on Wednesday.

Cloud Monitoring is based on the technology from Cloudkick, a company Rackspace acquired in 2010. Since then the Cloudkick team has been working to incorporate its monitoring system into Rackspace's product portfolio, according to John Engates, CTO at Rackspace.

An important function is the service's ability to monitor different systems.

"This is something that doesn't just work at Rackspace, but it works across services that run anywhere. So it could be one of our competitors or on-premise. Everything that has an IP address we can monitor," said Engates.

Enterprises live in a hybrid computing world, with infrastructure on-premise, in private clouds and public cloud resources in multiple places around the world, according to Engates.

"We want to make sure customers have the freedom, choice and flexibility to do what they need to do on their own terms, and not be dictated to," said Engates. Rackspace has spent on long time on developing the included API (application programming interface) to make the service as flexible as possible, according to Engates.

"The API is the real power behind the service. It gives customers not just a user interface or front end, but also access to the monitoring engine that Rackspace uses behind the scene," said Engates.

Enterprises could potentially use the API to build their own Web interface or dashboard. Rackspace tries to make sure that everything it builds has an API, and Cloud Monitoring is no different, according to Engates.

"There is nothing hidden from the customer," he said.

The API is based on node.js, which is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime and is a good fit for building fast, scalable network applications, according to the project's website.

Just like many cloud services, the technical barrier to entry is low. Most enterprises today have some sort of monitoring platform, but as systems grow they may find it difficult to keep up and cloud-based monitoring can play a role, according to Engates.

"Enterprises can turn over some of the basics and core services they need to a cloud provider. Monitoring isn't a differentiator, but something you have to do," said Engates.

Going forward, Rackspace wants to add more in-depth analysis, and add agent-based monitoring to track and report on anything from CPU, disk and memory assets to custom applications and service metrics.

Cloud Monitor runs on Rackspace's data centers in the U.S, U.K. and Hong Kong, which gives users the possibility to monitor from different perspectives, according to Engates.

The service will cost from US$1.50 per check, per month. Each check allows the monitoring of a specific resource at any interval.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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