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Todd Morey on Rackspace Cloud – CloudCampAustin 3

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While at CloudCampAustin recently, my good friend Zane Rockenbaugh of Dog Food Software brought all his fancy podcasting gear again we recorded another short series in the Profiles in Courage episodes. In this second episode, we talk with Rackspace’s Todd Morey.

Being one of the co-founders (along with Jonathan Bryce) of Rackspace Cloud, or “Mosso” as it used to be called, I jump right in and ask Todd to tell us the history of how the Rackspace Cloud came about. Todd had been working on UIs at Rackspace. As such, they had access to really chap Rackspace servers on which they developed some “side applications,” but found the administrative tasks – like dealing with hackers – to be a hassle. Hence, Todd and Jonathan started looking into something more, well, “cloudy” as we’d say now.

We then jump into a name game discussion. First, where the name “Mosso” game from and then, we discuss why “cloud computing” won out over “utility computing.” We discuss the awkward feeling, at least early on, of “cloud”: as Todd puts it, “it sounds almost a little too magical.” But, now that its been here awhile, we all agree it’s a dandy term.

Getting back to the history of the Rackspace Cloud, I ask Todd to tell us how the Mosso idea evolved over time. We go over several times where they had to, essentially, figure out where to apply constraints on the system. This gets us into a discussion of when an application requires too much customized access and thus, doesn’t fit well into Mosso, but would fit better in more traditional hosting.

On the topic of applications, Todd brings up email (or “messaging” as some like to call it when thrown together with calendaring and, sometimes IM) as one of the best examples of a cloud-bound application. Along those lines, we discuss some customers who’re using the Rackspace Crowd.

Thinking back to a conversation Todd and I had back at SXSW, I ask him to lay out his thinking about how (what I’d call) Collaborative IT Management applies to cloud computing. Rackspace acquired Slidehost last Fall, who had a large, active community around its knowledge-base. Todd speaks to thinking he’s been having recently about applying those practices to the wider practice of cloud support. This gets me thinking about how the traditional, packaged software role of “technical writers” could transition into this community gardening world. Never mind writing manuals, we need skilled people to document the day-to-day finds and helpful advice from the community.

Closing out on a completely non-technical topic, since Todd lives down in San Antonio, I ask him about Fiesta, the yearly, city-wide party. He gives us the folkloric story of how it came about and tells us what its like, complete with the “royal court.”

Categories: Cloud, RedMonk Radio Podcast.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] For me, what’s missing is a thriving ecosystem around the Rackspace platform. While there are parts of that in their Slicehost acquisition and there’s Scoble running around for them, I still don’t get the sense that there’re “Rackspace cloud developers” out there in the same way that there are “EC2 developers” or even “(Sales) developers. While Rackspace has many existing customers and also partners around it’s cloud offering, community building takes time. You can hear more discussion on this topic with Rackspace’s Todd Morey and myself from back at CloudCampAus…. […]