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Rackspace adds API access to its hosted clouds

RESTful and be thankful

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Cloud service host Rackspace is adding API access to its hosted clouds, to give cloud service suppliers more control and flexibility over their hosted servers.

Rackspace offers Cloud Server hosting to cloud service provider customers, using technology from its Slicehost subsidiary. Customers currently manage their servers through a Control Panel GUI.

The coming API, built using a RESTful web service interface, will enable customers to have better control of their server instances in the Rackspace hosting centres. They will be able to write code that programmatically detects server load and scales the number of server instances up and down, for example.

The API introduces features that the Control Panel does not have. One is the ability to specify files when a server instance is created that will be injected into the server file system before startup. Rackspace says this is useful when inserting SSH keys, setting configuration files, or storing data that customers want to retrieve from within the Cloud Server itself.

A second new feature refers to identification of the server host. The Cloud Servers provisioning algorithm attempts to spread out customer virtual machines across hosts. Under certain situations, Cloud Servers from the same customer may be placed on the same host. Host identification allows customers to detect this condition and take appropriate action.

The API also makes it simpler to create shared IP groups and enable high availability configurations.

Showing that it is au fait with iPhone popularity, Rackspace customers will be able to manage their clouds with an iPhone, thanks to an application built with the APIs by a developer, Michael Mayo. The application is expected to be available in the App Store within a month. ®

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