Last year, Rackspace, one of the largest web hosting companies going, went and bought a few smaller companies to add to its stable of cloud-based offerings, which to that point had consisted of Mosso. One of these was Jungle Disk, which I use for backups and file storage on Amazon S3. The other was Slicehost.

Mosso’s offerings were pretty straight-forward. For $100 a month you got a server you could develop your application on in a variety of languages and they would automatically handle scaling your app as needed. We tried it out for a bit and it worked well and as advertised.

Yesterday, Rackspace announced several new offerings, but one in particular caught my eye – their Cloud Servers product.

Cloud Servers will be priced per instance hour and will start at $0.015 per hour ($10.95 for a full month of usage). Since you only pay by the hour, it will be really easy and affordable to spin up a new instance for testing or development—and then simply remove it when you’re done.

$11 a month for a cloud server with 256 MB of RAM and 10GB storage space? Sign me up right this second. These servers will be available starting Monday, March 16. I will try them out and report back how they are. Here are additional costs and specs. Click for a larger version.

I wonder how Amazon will respond to this?

You can read more about their cloud servers and Rackspace’s other announcements here.

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If you’re in a country that observes daylight savings time and you use WordPress, don’t forget that you must manually change the time of your installation to account for time change.

On Sunday at 2 a.m., the clocks moved forward one hour. My installation, needed to be changed from GMT -5 to GMT -4.

It’s a bit annoying it must be manually set. Surely there is a way to either use the time of the server or ping a time server somewhere for an update.

Welcome, University Business readers. Thanks, UB, for putting a link to my blog in your story about the cloud.

I was interviewed by University Business editor Tim Goral about IHE’s using the cloud. I hope the story is able to shed a little light about potential uses of the cloud in higher education in the future.

I’m glad Mr. Goral touched on security in the story, it’s a question I get a lot from people want to learn more about the cloud or are wary about security concerns in the cloud. This is a topic I’ll blog more about in the future, but here’s a snip of what I said in the story:

“There is some data, such as our student registration, that will always reside on campus,” he explains. “If you’re buying a cloud server and you are uploading code and applications, that’s no different than a server that lives in your data center. You are going to put the same protections on it that you put in your on-campus infrastructure. You are going to lock out certain ports, you are going to make sure you are always patching and getting the most up-to-date software, and so on. If your data is not secure on your own campus, it is not going to be any more or less secure in the cloud.”

I’d like to expand on these thoughts in the future. Thanks again to Tim Goral for including me in the story. If you don’t get University Business, you definitely should. Even if you aren’t in a financial area (I’m in web and marketing), it’s a great way to leran about challenges your institution will or are currently facing, and it never hurts to try to learn as much as possible about the different offices and functions of a college. I’ve learned a great deal in the years I’ve been a (free) subscriber.

Interesting side note, this is the third month in a row I’ve been in UB, and my fifth time over all. Here are a few links:

The Power of Podcasts, February 2006
Facebook Applications: Game changer? February 2008
Should You Twitter, January 2009
How to do more with less, February 2009
10 Questions and Answers about the Cloud, March 2009