Rackspace has retooled its Mosso grid hosting service, shifting its focus to web application hosting and adopting a new tagline: The Hosting Cloud. The relaunch was featured on GigaOm and TechCrunch, which each drew comparisons to Amazon's S3 anf EC2 utility computing platforms, with Om Malik suggesting Mosso represents "a liberal interpretation of the term 'cloud computing.'" Mosso is perhaps better understood as an existing player in the clustered hosting sector that is expanding its ambitions to benefit from the growing interest in application hosting platforms.
Mosso is not a new service - it was launched in early 2006 following a lengthy internal development effort at Rackspace - and is a leading example of a service that has evolved to keep pace with the rapid changes in the web hosting landscape.
Mosso was developed by Rackspace employees Todd Morey and Jonathan Bryce and features a virtualized hosting platform that lets customers provision services through a web management interface. It was developed as a next-generation platform for web hosting resellers, designed to supplant the scalability limitations of dedicated servers. An early version of the service was briefly beta tested by Rackspace in August 2004, but it turned out that many hardcore resellers preferred to have root access to manage their servers, rather than a web control panel.
Mosso was spun off from Rackspace and launched in March 2006 with a new focus on web designers and developers who resell hosting services to their customers. For a small fee, Mosso would manage all customer support and billing, providing a no-fuss turnkey solution for professionals for whom hosting was a secondary business.
With today's announcement, Mosso has again shifted gears. Today's press release describes The Hosting Cloud as "a cross-platform cloud computing offering that, for the first time, allows for seamless scalability. The new approach eliminates the cost and complexity of scaling web infrastructure, specifically for developers and companies looking to deploy large web applications."
Mosso retains its $100 a month pricing, but has adjusted its resource caps. When it launched in 2006, Mosso had allowances of 100 gigabytes of disk space and 1 terabyte of monthly data transfer. The new Hosting Cloud plan includes 500 GB of bandwidth, 50 gigs of disk space and 3 million web requests per month. When those resource levels are exceeded, scale pricing kicks in at 50 cents for each gig of storage, 25 cents per gig of data transfer, and 3 cents for every 1,000 requests.
"At Mosso, our mission is to deliver on the promise of cloud computing