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Rackspace Hosting has added a new service to its portfolio, called Dedicated VMware vCenter Server, which is a managed service that does exactly what it sounds like, providing dedicated servers virtualized on VMware.


The key to the announcement is a hybrid infrastructure capability Rackspace is promising. The company says customers will be able to seamlessly extend their on-premise VMware environments to its data centers and be able to use their existing management tools across both sets of infrastructure.


This appears very similar to the services VMware is selling through its recently announced vCloud Hybrid Service. The company unveiled the service in May, saying it would help customers easily integrate their in-house VMware infrastructure with infrastructure hosted in its public cloud, for which it leases colocation space.


All the characteristics of client's in-house networks, such as security, would extend to the VMware data centers automatically, the company said.


When making the vCloud Hybrid announcement, VMware execs said they were going after its existing enterprise customers – customers with VMware environments in their own data centers. Rackspace seems to be targeting the same customer base with its new offering.


John Engates, Rackspace CTO, said the new service was designed to let customers move workloads out of their own data centers and into Rackspace's. “Utilizing Rackspace’s hybrid cloud portfolio gives customers the choice to find the best fit for their applications and workloads, all while offloading data center management so that they can focus on their core business.”


Customers control their Rackspace-hosted VMware environments using the dedicated vCenter Servers, vCenter APIs (application programming interfaces), compatible third-party tools and service catalogs, orchestration platforms and portals they already have. They can use the same orchestration tools they use to provision VM instances in their in-house environment.


Commenting on the announcement, Melanie Posey, research VP at IDC, said the fact that Rackspace operated one of the largest VMware environments as well as the largest OpenStack cloud gave it expertise to help customers take advantage of the hybrid cloud model.


Having options for both OpenStack and VMware infrastructure broadens Rackspace's market reach. The company was one of the main forces behind OpenStack and has big ambitions in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service space.


In August 2012, shortly after Rackspace unveiled its OpenStack-based cloud services, CEO Lanham Napier said the open-source cloud architecture was the San Antonio, Texas-based hosting company's chance to enter the big league of cloud infrastructure services – the league where Amazon Web Services dominates.