Cloud Servers FAQ

Getting started

I want to install version x.y of software in Linux, but your system doesn’t allow me to? How do I install it?

The repository for your operating system’s package manager probably has an older approved version. If so, you must remove that installation and then compile the newer version yourself. Refer to the software vendor for instructions.

Will you help me install my software package?

It depends on your service level. For Managed Infrastructure Cloud accounts, you are responsible for installing and maintaining all software on your server. If your account has a Managed Operations service level, Rackspace provides support for specific software and server configurations on cloud servers. For more information about supported systems and third party packages, see Linux Spheres of Support for Dedicated and Managed Operations.

What programming languages or applications are supported?

All of our cloud servers can be configured as development stacks, database servers, and web servers. Apache, Lighttpd, Mongrel, and Visual Studio are all options.

You can use the programming language of your choice to interact with cloud servers. For help getting started, use any of the Software Development Kits (SDKs) documented at https://developer.rackspace.com/docs/.

Do you host DNS?

Yes. The Cloud Control Panel has a DNS menu for maintaining domain records for your cloud servers. For more information, see Create DNS records for Cloud Servers with the Control Panel.

What are the DNS servers for my cloud server?

ns.rackspace.com and ns2.rackspace.com

How many domains can I host?

Because you are in control of everything on your server, there is no limit.

I’m kind of new to this. Will it be difficult?

The answer depends largely on your experience as a Systems Administrator for Linux or Windows Server. Our Linux servers are full Linux distributions with root-level access. Our Windows servers give you Administrator access, and are built with nothing but the default applications on installation. Cloud servers are designed for customers who want to start from scratch and tune a system for their own purposes.

If you are uncomfortable in the System Administrator role, we also offer a Managed Operations service level.

What level of support comes with Cloud Servers?

We have two service levels: Managed Infrastructure and Managed Operations.

At the Managed Infrastructure level, we support the server hardware, datacenter environment, and Internet connectivity, but we do not support the software installed on your server, including the operating system and its configuration. When you provision a cloud server, you are given a server with unrestricted access. The Managed Infrastructure support team does not assist in the installation of software or troubleshooting any kind of issue related to the software installed. We have some articles in the Rackspace How-To covering basic installation of common applications. We also have community forums where you can share tips and tricks with other customers.

The Managed Operations service level provides additional support on cloud servers, which includes monitoring, operating system and application infrastructure layer support, and technical guidance.

What can I do with a cloud server?

The Rackspace Cloud Servers soution is a fully unrestricted, root/Administrator level access, Linux or Windows environment. Any application or service that you can run from a traditional, physical, dedicated-unmanaged operations server can be run from your cloud server.

Can I reinstall a different distribution or start over?

Yes! Select the Rebuild option in the Cloud Control Panel to select a new distribution. However, be sure to backup of your data first because this process destroys any data that is on the server. The rebuild process does allow you to save your IP address.

What if I mess up my cloud server?

You can reboot your server. You can restore from a backup. You can delete your server and start over. You can boot into an emergency rescue mode and attempt fix the problem. There are many options for recovering from mistakes, but the easiest is to keep regular backups and to make a fresh backup before attempting any major configuration changes or before installing new software.


Account services

Are Rackspace Cloud Servers HIPAA compliant?

Rackspace cannot determine if a given customer is meeting their obligations under the laws applicable to them, and it remains our customers’ obligation to understand the laws applicable to their use of the services and select appropriate services to meet those obligations. We do understand the needs of many of our customers in the healthcare space to implement appropriate security measures to protect the sensitive information they work with.

To help customers in the healthcare industry meet their compliance requirements with regards to HIPAA, Rackspace offers a Business Associate Agreement in all of our dedicated hosting services segments, and it is included by default in our agreements with customers for those services.

How does Cloud Servers handle my data from potentially becoming visible when I delete a server?

For your security, the Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) on the hypervisor is deleted when you delete a server. After it is deleted, data cannot be retrieved and customers do not have logical or direct access to the physical drive.

Can I read your SLA?

Yes. Go to https://www.rackspace.com/information/legal/cloud/sla.

How do I contact Support?

At Rackspace, our goal is to make the cloud easy for you to use. To meet that goal, we have created many different ways for you to get the support that you need to get the most out of the cloud.

  • Your first stop should be Rackspace How-To, which is the best source for articles and tutorials to help you get the precise answers that you need.
  • Our Open Cloud Forum in the Rackspace Community is always open. Use the forum to get your questions answered by a Racker.
  • Do you have a quick question that you can’t find an answer for in the Rackspace How-To? Open Chat and talk with our Fanatical Support® staff anytime, 24x7x365.
  • Do you have a specialized Service Request or are you experiencing a problem with our service? Open a ticket. In the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel, select Support Tickets from the Support menu. Click Create Ticket to open a ticket directly with our support teams to report a problem or make a service request.
  • Call us 24x7x365 at 800 961 4454 (toll-free) or +1 210 312 4000 (international).

Server management

What do I enter in the Server Name field?

The information that you enter in the Server Name field helps you identify this server in the API and Cloud Control Panel. The name that you enter when you create a server is used as the server’s host name. If you rename the server later, the name that is displayed in the API and Cloud Control Panel is updated. However, the host name on the computer is not updated.

Can I connect to a server by using the server name?

To connect to the server from outside of the server’s local network, you need to configure an A record in Cloud DNS. To access Cloud DNS, in the top navigation bar of the Cloud Control Panel, select Networking > Cloud DNS.

For example, if you name your server MyWebServer1.MyExampleDomain.com, you must add an A record for MyWebServer1.MyExampleDomain.com to your DNS zone (MyExampleDomain.com) that points to the public IP address of the server. The information that you enter in the Server Name field helps you identify this server in the API and Cloud Control Panel.

How do I set up reverse DNS setup for my server?

You can set up reverse DNS from the control panel. For instructions, see Create a reverse DNS record.

What are PVHVM images?

PVHVM refers to the virtualization mode used by the hypervisor to run the virtual machine (VM). PVHVM images are VM images that use the PVHVM virtualization mode. In general, PVHVM offers better performance than PV, especially for disk and network I/O, but it is not well supported in Linux operating systems with a kernel version earlier than 2.6.36. The availability of PV and PVHVM images in the Rackspace Cloud is determined by the effectiveness of each virtualization mode for that particular operating system.

Note: Work-optimized servers (Compute, I/O, and Memory) require PVHVM images. If you try to create a work-optimized server by using a non-PVHVM image, the following error message is displayed: Image cannot be built with provided flavor.

For more information about PVHVM, see Choosing a virtualization mode (PV versus PVHVM).

Is there a throughput limit on my server’s network interface card?

The amount of network throughput varies based on the flavor of the server. For more information, see the Pricing page in the main Rackspace website.

Do you offer internal IP addresses?

Yes. Each server comes with an internal IP address that is used to communicate between servers. The traffic that flows over this interface (eth1) on your server is unmetered and is not billed. This network is referred to as ServiceNet. ServiceNet is an internal-only, multitenant network connection within each Rackspace data center. ServiceNet IP addresses are not accessible from the public Internet and are local per data center. You can also deploy with Cloud Networks, which are single-tenant.

Can I buy extra public IP addresses?

Yes. For more information, see Requesting Additional IPv4 Addresses for Cloud Servers.

I want to set up multiple servers from the same image. Can I do this?

As a Cloud Servers customer, you can create both on-demand images and scheduled images of your cloud server. All server images are stored in your Cloud Files account, which enables you to keep these images even after the server they were created on is deleted. It also gives you the flexibility to create an unlimited number of on-demand images of your server. All cloud server images can be used to create new cloud servers or to resore an existing cloud server. For details, see Create an image of a server and restore a server from a saved image.

Do you offer on-demand images (snapshots) and scheduled images and what are the prices?

You can create an image of any General Purpose cloud server, and you can use this image to restore a server or clone a new one. You can create an unlimited number of images on-demand, or you can schedule an automatic daily or weekly image.

Images are compressed and stored on Rackspace Cloud Files at the current storage rates. Please also read this list of snapshot limitations.

If you are using a virtual cloud server, see Create an image of a server and restore a server from a saved image for more information about the image options associated with virtual cloud servers.

Can I use the GUI interface for my Linux cloud server?

Yes. For instructions on how to install VNC and X-Windows, see Install VNC on a Cloud Server. Note that using a GUI requires a large amount of bandwidth on your server.

Do you have a control panel?

Yes, the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel is a web-based management interface for restarting your cloud server, starting support discussions, viewing stats, and scheduling snapshots. However, we do not offer a control panel like Plesk or cPanel. You’re free to install such packages for your own cloud server. If you are installing cPanel, be sure to install on a clean (empty) server. For more information, see CentOS/RHEL - Installing cPanel & WHM 11.24. The use of Plesk or cPanel is not supported and strongly discouraged for customers under the Managed Operations SLA because it interferes with our server administration. For more information, see Using Plesk or cPanel with the Managed Operations Service Level Agreement.

Also, consider installing the free monitoring agent on your server and using the Rackspace Intelligence dashboard, which offers many of the same functions as a control panel.

Do you provide Console access?

Yes, via an HTML5 web terminal that you can access through the Cloud Control Panel. On the details section for your server, click Actions > Emergency Console.

Note: Console access is via a secure HTTP connection, which is a different connection from the traditional way to connect via SSH for Linux or RDP for Windows. Console can be a useful troubleshooting tool if your server is unresponsive or you have locked yourself out.

Can I reboot my server?

Yes. On the details page for the server in the cloud control panel, select Actions > Reboot. This method is useful if the server is unresponsive.

Am I billed if my server is powered off?

Yes. You are billed for the resources that are used on the host while your server is in the Active status. When your server is created, you are given a dedicated amount of RAM and hard drive space. As long as your server exists, no one else can use those resources that have been allocated to you, which is why you are billed per hour even while powered off. If you want to stop incurring charges for a given server, you must delete that server in the control panel.

If you want to stop paying for a server but still need to retain the configurations from it, your best option is to create an image of the server. The system configurations on your system disk are preserved in the image. The image is saved in Cloud Files and accessible on the Saved Images tab in the control panel. There is a fee associated with Cloud Files storage but it is much less than the cost of an active server. You must also save the data from your data disk to Cloud Block Storage or Rackspace Cloud Backup to have available on your next server. Then you are free to delete the original server, knowing that you can provision a new server by using the saved image of the old server and your saved data.

After you restore your server from the saved image, the primary difference will be that your new server has a different IP address from the old one. Putting the new server into production might require you to update any associated DNS records to reflect the new IP address.

How do I power on my server after shutting it down?

Intructions are located in Reboot your server

Which distributions do you offer?

To see the Linux distributions and Windows operating systems that we have available, go to the Cloud Control Panel, Servers > CloudServers, and then click Create Server.

Can I upgrade my server later?

If you have a General Purpose server, you can change the size of your data storage space in one of the following ways:

How many users go onto each host machine?

The number of customers on a Cloud Server host machine depends on the size of the customers’ servers and the type of operating system.

Can I buy extra storage?

The native storage allocation for a cloud server is based on the Cloud Server flavor that you select, but you can add extra storage at any time with our Cloud Block Storage service.

Can I install the Rackspace Private Cloud on virtual machines?

Rackspace strongly recommends that you install Rackspace Private Cloud on physical hardware nodes. Installation on virtual platforms should only be performed for evaluation purposes.

What is live migration?

Live migration is the process of moving a virtual server from one host hypervisor to another by using virtual memory streaming. A duplicate of the original virtual server is created on another host, in real-time, from the disk contents, right down to the last byte of RAM in use. When the process is ready, the original virtual server is switched to the new one.

Using live migration means that, where possible, customer workloads can be moved off of a host that needs to be patched and rebooted to a host that is already updated. During live migration, most customers experience no downtime; a small percentage may notice a brief pause in their workloads, but the result is generally of low impact compared to a full reboot of a host and virtual server.


Performance

What is the difference between Standard, General Purpose, and work-optimized servers?

There are several noteworthy differences between Standard, General Purpose, and work-optimized cloud servers:

  • General Purpose servers use faster solid state drives (SSD) compared to the standard spinning disk allocation for Standard servers.
  • Only work-optimized servers (I/O, Compute, or Memory flavors) can boot from Cloud Block Storage.
  • For both General Purpose and Standard servers, you can choose the size of your system disk (50 GB-1 TB), but the system disk is fixed for work-optimized servers.
  • Up to 240 GB of RAM is available on work-optimized servers (Memory flavor), whereas Standard servers provide up to 30 GB of RAM.
  • You can have up to 32 vCPUs running on work-optimized servers, compared to the maximum of 8 on the Standard Cloud Servers.
  • Maximum network throughput on Standard servers is 600 Mbps public and 1200 Mbps private network. Maximum network bandwidth on work-optimized servers is 5Gbps public and 10Gbps private network.

For more information about General Purpose servers, see New features in General Purpose and work-optimized Cloud Servers.


Billing and account

Do you offer discounts for cloud servers?

Yes. We offer different types of discounts based on usage. For details, see the Cloud Servers discounts page for details.


Security

Are cloud servers PCI-DSS compliant?

For information about PCI-DSS, see Cloud Security Solutions. For information about PCI-DSS for Rackspace Dedicated Hosting services, see PCI-Compliant Hosting for E-commerce Websites.

Can I run a firewall on my server?

Yes, and we encourage it! Each Linux server is capable of running the Linux-standard firewall called iptables; some even have it pre-configured. Other firewall systems have been tested on cloud servers as well.

What are security groups?

Security groups are a named collection of network access rules that enable Rackspace Public Cloud users the ability to specify the types of traffic that are allowed to pass through, to, and from ports (PublicNet and ServiceNet) on a cloud server instance. A security group is a container for security group rules. After you launch an instance, you can assign one or more security groups to ports on that instance. Security groups act as a stateful firewall for your cloud server instances.

What happens when a security group rule is added to a security group?

Traffic matching the security group rule is allowed to go through.

Can I apply security groups to ports on an instance at boot time?

No. Security groups can only be applied only after the instance is active.

Is there a default security group that gets applied to my instances?

No default security group is applied. You just create a Security Group and apply it to the ports on an instance.

Are security groups supported for OnMetal users?

No. Security Groups are currently supported only for virtual cloud servers.

Will the security group feature be integrated and available to use via the Cloud Control Panel?

NO. Customers can use either the neutron client or the API to manage security groups.

Are security groups supported via the neutron client?

Yes. Users can provision security groups by using the neutron client.

Are security groups on Cloud Networks supported?

Yes. For additional information see Cloud Networks API Getting Started.

Are Outbound Security Groups supported?

Yes. For additional information see Cloud Networks API Getting Started.

Is the security group feature supported for all Cloud customers?

Security groups are supported only for Managed Infrastructure, non-RackConnect customers.

Is the security group feature available to all Cloud users?

Security groups is in Limited Availability in all data centers. Contact Rackspace support to enable this feature.

What are the benefits of using security groups?

Prior to this feature being available, customers had to manage traffic to and from their instances individually via, for example, iptables rules on every instance (or perhaps use third-party tools), incurring signifcant management overhead. Security groups make it possible to use a self-service API to define a common set of rules and apply them to the neutron ports (Public/ServiceNet) on cloud servers without needing to configure iptables rules on each server, thereby simplifying administration of security policies.

Is there a limit to the number of security group rules per user?

During Limited Availability, there is an aggregate limit of 100 security group rules per user. Contact Rackspace Support if you need this limit raised.

Is there a limit to the number of rules per security group?

There is a limit of 20 security group rules per security group. Contact Rackspace Support if you need this limit raised.

How many security groups can I apply per port?

Up to 5 security groups are allowed per port. Contact Rackspace Support if you need this limit raised.

Are security groups applied to instances?

Security groups are applied to neutron ports (PublicNet and ServiceNet) on cloud server instances.

Can I have a security group with no rules?

Yes. Such a security group denies or blocks all traffic.

What kinds of traffic can be matched by the security group rules?

TCP, UDP, and ICMP traffic can be matched in addition to traffic from a source IP address or CIDR. Both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic can be matched.

Is there any traffic that is permitted or allowed by default by security groups?

DNS responses from Rackspace Provider DNS servers (UDP source port 53 ) are allowed by default even if they are not explicitly allowed by a security group.

TCP flags ACK and RST are also permitted by default.

What are the maximum limits for the Cloud Servers service?

The maximum limits are as follows:

Limit Name Description Value
maxImageMeta The maximum number of metadata key value pairs associated with a particular image. 40
maxPersonality The maximum number of file path/content pairs that can be supplied when a server is built or rebuilt. 5
maxPersonalitySize The maximum size, in bytes, for each personality file. 1000
maxServerMeta The maximum number of metadata key value pairs associated with a particular server. 40
maxTotalCores This limit is disabled, so no limits exist on the total number of cores. -1
maxTotalInstances The maximum number of cloud servers that can exist in your account at any one time. 100
maxTotalPrivateNetworks The maximum number of isolated networks that you can create. Set to 0 when Cloud Networks is disabled, 10 when Cloud Networks enabled. 10
maxTotalRAMSize The maximum total amount of RAM (MB) of all cloud servers in your account at any one time. 131072

When a cloud server is deleted how is the data removed from the host server?

Cloud servers use VHD storage. When a server is deleted, the VHD file is securely and immediately deleted. It is not possible to recover a server that has been deleted.


API

Where are your APIs?

The documentation for the API for Cloud Servers and our other products is loacated on the Rackspace Developer Docs site.

Before you can start using our APIs, you will need your API Key. You can obtain your API key by following the instructions in View and reset your API key.