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Rackspace To Build Its Own Hardware

The Google-like move could hurt Dell and HP, which have been counting on selling to the hyperscale crowd

Exposed to Facebook’s Open Compute notion, Rackspace has been enticed into building its own servers for one of its next data centers so it can “break down the engineering barriers that lock users into proprietary technologies” save money and get systems deployed on the floor faster.

One might assume that they’ll be running the open source OpenStack cloud platform, a formula customers might follow to simplify hybrid cloud computing.

Rackspace is a founding member of the OCP and wants custom servers, storage arrays and racks as Rackspace COO Mark Roenigk suggested at the OCP do last week.

The Google-like move could hurt Dell and HP, which have been counting on selling to the hyperscale crowd.


Rackspace's CTO John Engates keynoting at Day 2 of 11th Cloud Expo in Silicon Valley

Rackspace said it’s giving the OCP a server design run up by its engineers and will buy the boxes from Open Compute vendors later this year.

The Register says the initial Rackspace servers and arrays are modified versions of Open Compute’s Winterfell three-node sled servers and Open Vault Knox arrays being co-designed and built by Wiwynn, the US arm of Wistron, that will slide into a tweaked version of the Open Rack standard adopted by the Open Compute Project (OCP) last year that doesn’t suit Rackspace.


Rackspace's ever-busy booth at 11th Cloud Expo | Cloud Expo Silicon Valley (Nov, 2012)

Three-node sled servers are reportedly already in production. Ditto the Knox storage with 30 3.5-inch SATA drives in each system. There’s also a Quanta four-sled dense server still in test as is its array and won’t be out until Q2 sometime.

Both systems reportedly use Xeon E5s with a total of 16 memory slots for a maximum of 256GB of memory across the 16 cores in the box. The nodes have a RAID controller with cache memory to link out to external storage plus one 3.5-inch SATA drive.

The Rackspace rack uses two rather than three power zones for servers and storage with a power shelf slot in the middle. The Rackspace version of Open Rack is taller and hotter, burning between 14.4 and 16.8 kilowatts per rack compared to 12 kilowatts for the Facebook rack. It’s also AC-only.

There’s more details and pictures even here.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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