Rackspace banks on DevOps to help companies automate cloud management

The DevOps Automation Service will first be available in the U.S. on a limited basis

Rackspace Hosting is extending its support offerings to include DevOps tools such as Chef to help enterprises automate the management of their clouds.

Through its new DevOps Automation Service, Rackspace will provide support for DevOps tools that help enterprises deploy and scale applications running on Linux. The service will soon work with Windows as well, Rackspace said on Thursday. DevOps is a software development concept that aims to smooth out the interaction between development and operations departments.

Although the service can be used by anyone, it fits best when enterprises need to scale up infrastructure quickly or expect to do so in the future. Enterprises can, for example, turn to Rackspace to get help with infrastructure automation using Chef or with monitoring using StatsD, Graphite and New Relic, the company said on its website. Rackspace also offers support for tools used for workflow automation, log aggregation and source control.

Rackspace can write, test and maintain so-called cookbooks for Chef. Cookbooks are used to describe how systems should be configured. Software such as Hadoop and MySQL can be installed, configured and optimized using the cookbooks. The vendor can also help analyze how a company's performance improves or worsens in response to code changes and other events.

The reasoning behind the offering is that enterprises find it hard to recruit and train DevOps talent, and Rackspace has learned a lot from managing its own infrastructure, according to the company.

The DevOps Automation Service will at first be offered to a limited number of U.S. customers that have a working knowledge of Chef. General, global availability is anticipated in early next year, according to Rackspace. The company didn't reveal any pricing, but users can apply for the Limited Availability Program on Rackspace's website.

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