Rackspace, the widely-used Web hosting provider, has announced two major acquisitions that will add value to its cloud computing offerings. In a tandem move, the hosting company has purchased JungleDisk and Slicehost.
JungleDisk is a popular client that gives Windows, Mac and Linux users easy access to Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) by providing the cloud storage offering as a drive letter on their computer. Additionally, by acquiring SliceHost, Rackspace picks up a hosting competitor and will integrate Slicehost's storage capabilities with JungleDisk as an additional storage facility within the JungleDisk client.
Who is Slicehost?
Slicehost's primary business is Web and email hosting, much like Rackspace's offerings. However, Rackspace is most interested in Slicehost's cloud computing offering titled CloudFiles. In an FAQ posted on Slicehost's Web site, the company says CloudFiles can be integrated with Rackspace to enhance backup, Web serving and other Web service capabilities. The site also says that with the acquisition, CloudFiles customers will see new features including availability of larger slices (more storage space) and lower prices.
How JungleDisk Fits In JungleDisk is an application that makes an S3 store (your personal piece of disk space) easily accessible by creating a drive letter or volume on your computer. JungleDisk is widely used as an offsite storage mechanism for additional hard drive space or as a backup solution. JungleDisk has a strong following, because the software is very inexpensive (US$ 20 for a single user license), uses SSL encryption for strong security, and is available for multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Up until the Rackspace announcement, JungleDisk was merely a conduit that allowed users easy access to their S3 storage space. However, Rackspace will add Slicehost CloudFiles as an additional option to JungleDisk customers for their storage needs. When comparing prices, CloudFiles storage pricing looks very similar to Amazon's S3 service, but transfer costs are higher with CloudFiles.
Rackspace Gearing Up To Compete
By acquiring JungleDisk and Slicehost, Rackspace's intentions are clear. The hosting provider wants to be among the major players in the cloud computing market. By picking up JungleDisk and CloudFiles, Rackspace is taking Amazon's Simple Storage Service head on. Looking at the Slicehost acquisition individually, Rackspace is obviously trying to compete with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud.
Competition is a positive driver in any market, and we're glad to see the cloud computing industry players duke it out. With the recent acquisitions, Rackspace now has the needed firepower in its arsenal to take on existing cloud computing heavyweights, including Amazon and Google.