This presentation has five parts.
First, we introduce Rapid.Space, its founders and goals.
Second, we introduce the current state of Rapid.Space in terms infrastructure and scope.
We then explain the advantage of Rapid.Space concept compared to other cloud solutions.
In a fourth part, we introduce Rapid.Space specific features designed for China.
In the fifth part we provide a list of typical use cases of Rapid.Space in China.
Rapid.Space may be a new name for you. We are going to present here who we are and what are our goals.
Rapid.Space was founded in 2020 by Nexedi, Amarisoft and a few VIPs of the IT and telecom inudustries.
Nexedi brings its open source stack, in particular its billing platform, its edge-cloud platform and its big data platform, all open source.
Amarisoft brings its purely software defined 4G/5G stack which covers all aspects needed for commercial deployment, including SA, NSA, NBIoT, etc.
The goal of Rapid.Space is to provide sovereignty and trust through full reversibility. You may consider this goal as providing the kind of thing that companies such as Huawei, Palantir or AWS are not able to provide due a combination IP and legal policies.
This goal applies to every business which Rapid.Space is targetting.
Rapid.Space already provides a reversible cloud platform that can be used for public or private clouds. All components of this platform are open source, including the hardware, meaning that any customer can "clone" this platform on-premise or have it operated by a third party at no license cost.
Rapid.Space intends to provide a reversible big data platform with a scope simllar to Palantir. All components of this platform are open source, including the hardware, meaning that any customer can "clone" this platform on-premise or have it operated by a third party at no license cost.
Rapid.Space intends to provide a reversible Edge computing platform which includes everything needed for Industry 4.0, including PLC, sensors, actuators. Again, all components are open source.
Rapid.Space intends to provide a reversible RAN platform which supports 4G/5G and can be used for both private and public networks. Most components are open source. Some components may be licensed source, meaning that any customer can "clone" this platform on-premise and audit its source code at some license cost.
Everything except VRAN in Rapid.Space is open source: software (SlapOS), hardware (OCP) and business procedures. VRAN is based on a licensed source stack which may eventually become open source at some point.
The Rapid.Space Handbook explains every aspect to build a Rapid.Space node and operate it, either as a public cloud or as a private cloud. This is a major difference with any other cloud provider which usually keep their operating process secret.
Rapid.Space is sovereign-by-design.
Servers of Rapid.Space are owned by national companies with no capital relation.
It is therefore impossible for one company owning Rapid.Space servers to "spy" another company's Rapid.Space servers. Only governments are allowed to "spy" servers in certain countries, whenever local legislation defines such possibility. However, governement in country A can not spy servers in country B in the case of Rapid.Space because there is no way for companies with no capital relation to instruct eachother anything.
The Rapid.Space company which orchestrates all servers worldwide does not have access to passwords or certificates which act as credential to servers. This approach is sometimes called "Zero-Knowledge". Whenever it is used, it is impossible for Rapid.Space centralised management platform to access servers in other countries or user information.
Rapid.Space infrastructure is growing. It is now deployed in Europe and Asia. It will soon be deployed in USA.
Rapid.Space has two web sites: https://rapid.space (available worldwide except mainland China) and https://rapidspace.cn (mainland China). This provides a global coverage.
The primary service of Rapid.Space is a high performance virtual private server (VPS) at reasonable cost, combined with a CDN infrastructure for accelerated web content delivery.
Rapid.Space is available in Europe (France, Germany, Sweden, Nertherlands) and in China. It will soon be available in Taiwan and a second DC will open in China.
Rapid.Space IPv6 backbone is based on a hybrid mesh network which relies on hundreds of routers worldwide. Thanks to babel technology (RFC 6126), all sorts of congestions can be avoided. Latency can be minized.
Rapid.Space provides HTTPS front-ends (HTTP1, HTTP2, HTTP3) in 10 different locations worldwide. In China, Rapid.Space front-ends are places on all major carriers: CT, CU and CM.
Read online: How does Rapid.Space and SlapOS compare to AWS?
Based on an early assessment, 85% of cloud services provided by Amazon AWS could actually be implemented with Rapid.Space low cost, high performance cloud and the vairous open source stacks such as SlapOS (75% services) and a few third party Free Software (10% services).
Rapid.Space is cheaper, ensures global delivery of services (including in China), is fully reversible (customers can quit Rapid.Space easily) and is open to all sorts of contribuions or adoptions of its open source technology. This is the advantage of being "Hyper Open".
Everything in Rapid.Space is open source: software (SlapOS), hardware (OCP) and business procedures.
All costs of Rapid.Space are public and described in "Business Model of a Low Cost Cloud Operator". The price of Rapid.Space is based on electricity, real estate, hardware amortisation, networking, operation management costs (software, human), hardware maintenance, financial costs. A 20% margin is added to cover all other risks related to the operation of a cloud service.
Anyone can contribute to Rapid.Space their own service in addition to the 70+ existing ones.
Anyone can contribute servers and datacenter to extend the worldwide coverage of Rapid.Space, as long as Rapid.Space procedures are respected.
Rapid.Space can be deployed on-premise too in a way that is typical of hybrid cloud.
It is also possible for one to operate a completely private infrastructure based, as Teralab does.
It is even possible to deploy Rapid.Space services on third-party public or private clouds (AWS, OVH, Azure, Alicloud, Hertzner, Huawei, VMWare, etc.) and benefit from all Rapid.Space services including its IPv6 backbone, CDN, IaaS, PaaS, etc.
Basically, there is no blocker, no secret, no anti-competitive practice of any sort in Rapid.Space.
Thanks to its global IPv6 backbone and its CDN front-ends, it is possible to create simple applications that will select automatically the best front-end for each user. Thanks to this technology, users can always access corporate applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) with 100% success rate. This approach is much more suitable for corporate applications than DNS based technologies which only provide 99% success rate. 99% is fine for e-commerce. But if the accountant of a company can not access the ERP of a company (because he or she is the 1% of the 99%), it is not acceptable.
Currently, EU has the cheapest prices for cloud. Rapid.Space is only 30% to 60% cheaper compared to EU brands.
US and China have the most expensive prices. Rapid.Space is 2 to 20 times cheaper compared to US or China brands.
Let us now discuss Rapid.Space unique features in China.
Because it is "Hyper Open" (open source software, open source hardware, open service), Rapid.Space could obtain all licenses to operate in China: IDC, commercial ICP, CDN, VPN, etc. All operations in China are handled by Xunkongjian, an independent, half public, half private company based in Shanxi (north of China).
Rapid.Space presence in China facilitates tremendously the global deployment of cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud applications to China or from China. Through a single provider and a single open source technology, system administrators and developers can reach the world without constraints.
Servers owned by Xunkongjian implement all Rapid.Space Services, just like servers owned by Nexedi implement all Rapid.Space Services.
Rapid.Space also protects sovereignty in China and outside China through its unique legal stucture based on independent, national partners.
Xunkongjian obbeys to China's Law, just like Nexedi (one of the founders of Rapid.Space) obbeys to French Law.
Xunkongjian must accept surveillance requests from Chinese government, just like Nexedi must accept surveillance requests from French government.
Neither Nexedi nor Xunkongjian are under control of a foreign government through extra-territorial legislation. This is a key difference withy conventional cloud providers.that operate in China or from China.
Rapid.Space's concept is to provide in a minimalistic way all basic services neded to deploy an application worldwide, including in mainland China.
There are three basic services: Virtual Private Server (VPS), Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Software Defined Network (SDN).
VPS provides a way for developers to install their applications. It is similar to dedicated server services from companies such as OVH or Hetzner in Europe, Digital Ocean in USA.
CDN provides a front-end solution to deliver data to end-users or to collect data from IoT. It is similar to Cloudflare or qiniu CDN in China.
SDN provides a way to interconnect Rapid.Space CDN and VPS through a latency-optimized IPv6 network. This service is quite unique: it also provides a way to interconnect Rapid.Space to other cloud services (AWS, Azure, GCP, OVH, Alicloud, UCloud, Qingcloud, etc.) with good networking performance.
The VPS basic service is a big server with a lot of RAM, computing power and SSD storage.
It is available in mainland China at a price of 1888 RMB, which is similar to European price but is 4 to 20 times cheaper than conventional public clouds in China. Rapid.Space servers are directly connected to both China Telecom and China Unicom networks.
It is designed for fast I/O with direct attached storage (kernel pass-through), 10 Gbps LAN and 1 Gbps shared transit.
This combination is ideal for high performance database (ERP, CRM, data warehouse, etc.) or big data clusters (AI, BI, etc.).
Servers can be installed automatically based on Ansible technology (or pre-seed soon).
A single server can be partitioned with VMs, containers or jails.
VPS provides no system redundancy. It is up to developers or system administrators to implement redundancy at application or system level if they need high availability or disaster recovery. It is also possible to use services such as Bunnyshell to automate all VPS operation, including redundancy and scalability.
Rapid.Space has redundant CDN presence in China on each major network provider: China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile.
The CDN service accelerates content delivery to end-users by reducing the time for end-users to negotiate SSL/TLS sessions and by keeping a copy of content close to end-users.
It can also be used to circumvent network congestion for global deployment of business applications of Web sites.
The CDN service also provides a way to buffer IoT data and forward it to the data processing backend. It reduces the risk of losing IoT data due to network congestion or backend downtime.
About 5% of routes within mainland China's internet backbone are either congested or blocked. This situation can prevent the deployment of Web based application in China such as ERPs, CRMs, etc.
Rapid.Space solves this problem thanks to an innovative SDN technology which is deployed on 5 core POPs (China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, UCloud and Qingcloud) and dozens of secondary POPs.
The SDN service is a Layer-3, software defined network (SDN) that is based on routing rather than on switching. Routing is simpler to manage and scalable.
Rapid.Space SDN is based on the idea that every service should be assigned a globally unique, public IPv6 address, at the edge or in the cloud.
Every service deployed on earth with Rapid.Space SDN can find the shortest route (in terms of latency) to any other service. Routes are updated in real time and are capable to circumvent network downtime or congestion of Internet transit providers.
Network isolation can be implemented through packet filtering.
Rapid.Space SDN is native on Rapid.Space cloud, edge and on-premise deployments. It can also be installed on third-party cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP, OVH, Alicloud, UCloud, Qingcloud, etc.) or on local area networks (LAN).
Overall, Rapid.Space SDN leverages IPv6 to eliminate the burden of traditional Layer-2 network management.
Let us now review typical use cases of Rapid.Space to deploy services in China.
Hosting in China can be extremely expensive: 4 to 20 times more expensive than in Europe. This can be a blocker for some businesses.
The reason for China's high price are many:
Rapid.Space was able to secure affordable colocation and transit in Shanxi (Northern China) as well as in various POPs for its CDN.
European-level price for cloud is now available in China.
There is no reliable way to deliver a Web application (ERP, CRM, etc.) or a Web Site in China without having multiple points of presence (POP) to accelerate content delivery.
For Web sites hosted in China, congestion happens often, especially if https protocol is used. Sometimes, DNS resolution fails. This can prevent accessing in China a web site hosted abroad, even if this Web site is just a corporate ERP, CRM or source code repository.
Even if a Web site is hosted in China, other kinds of problems may happen:
All those problems are solved by the combination of Rapid.Space CDN and Rapid.Space SDN service.
This use case applies to Web Sites hosted on Rapid.Space but also to Web Sites hosted on conventional public clouds (Alicloud, AWS, etc.). Rapid.Space SDN can be installed on any server or virtual machine, including on premise or on any public cloud.
To use Rapid.Space CDN in China, a valid ICP is mandatory. Rapid.Space can help with the process to obtain a valid ICP as long as you have a legal representation in mainland China.
Rapid.Space CDN and SDN are very useful too to deliver Web applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) or Web sites worldwide.
Even if a Web site is hosted in China, different kinds of problems may happen:
Some web sites of Chinese governements can for example be blocked in France on Free's FTTH network but are available from Japan or from Free's 4G mobile network. It is very unpredictable. Some web sites hosted in China (ex. https://www.ctocio.com/) can take up to a minute to display in Europe.
Both problems can be solved using the CDN service of Rapid.Space and by using HTTPS front-ends outside China to connect to the backend server inside China.
Not all applications are based on HTTP protocol. Yet, those applications suffer from the same issues as Web applications: unpredictable connectivity over China's Internet backbone.
For example, a service on one Chinese cloud (ex. Qingcloud) may need to access a database on another cloud (ex. Alicloud) using the MySQL/MariaDB protocol, which is not HTTP.
Rapid.Space SDN can ensure that connectivity between Qingcloud and Alicloud is not interrupted or congested.
The same database may need to be accessed by a user of Excel spreadsheet from home in an area of Beijing served by a local cable company. Internet in this area is not very stable and some routes to Alicloud or Qingcloud are congested or blocked.
By installing Rapid.Space SDN on a laptop, on a small computer (Raspberry Pi, Olinuxino) or an the home gaterway, connectivity problems can be circumvented and access to database will be reliable.
The same situation can happen whenever a database hosted in China needs to be accessed from a cloud in Europe (ex. Hetzner) or from the subsidiary of a Chinese company in Europe.
It is not always possible to set a dedicated line between the two sites. In such a case, Rapid.Space SDN ensures that connectivity between clients in Europe and servers in China is smooth.
Modern industry is based on connected things (factory tools, parts) and produces connected things (cars, health device, etc.).
However, due to congestion problems on China's Internet backbone, up to 5% of connected things can not send their data. If protocols such as MQTT are used, it is possible that data will be lost.
Rapid.Space CDN solves this problem by providing a dozen of "data buffering frontends" in different regions of China (Shanxi, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai) and on multiple telecom provides (China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile).
As long as a connected thing has the ability to timeout and select the next available "data buffering frontends", no data will be lost.
Using a "data buffering frontend" is also very useful in the event that the backend data lake is not accessible, either because of connectivity problem to the backend or because of backend downtime.
High latency or congestion between connected things and backend is another possible cause for losing data sent by connected things.
Rapid.Space CDN solves this problem by providing a dozen of "data buffering frontends" all over the world including in mainland China.
Regional backends, by being closer to the connected thing, are accessible with lower latency and less congestion. This reduces the risk of losing data.
Also, thanks to "data buffering", data collected by the frontend is not lost in the event that the backend data lake is not accessible, either because of connectivity problem to the backend or because of backend downtime.
Rapid.Space SDN provides IPv6 all over China, even if the Internet Service Provider (ISP) only supports IPv4.
Each SDN host can use a /56XXX range that can be shared on the same LAN with other hosts. All laptops and servers on the same LAN can then confirgure automatically a public, global IPv6 address, no matter their operating system (Linux, MacOS, Windows, etc.).
No modification to the existing LAN configuration is needed. All you need is a $40 micro-server such as a Rasberry Pi or an Olinuxino and a re6st token.
If needed, firewalling rules can be configured on the micro-server to prevent hosts on the LAN to be reachable from the outside.
Rapid.Space SDN also provides IPv6 anywhere in the world, even if the Internet Service Provider (ISP) only supports IPv4.
This can be useful to connect to IPv6 services hosted in China now that ISPs such as China Unicom natively support IPv6.
If needed, firewall rules can be configured on the micro-server to prevent hosts on the LAN to be reachable from the outside.
By having IPv6 configured on each site of company, all hosts can communicate directly without having to set complex proxies. One developer in one site can access another developer's host on another site.
Database servers on one site can be querried directly from another site.
Firewall rules can restrict address ranges which are granted direct communication from one site to another.
Application-level X.509 certificates can be used to protect access.
For more information, please contact Jean-Paul, CEO of Rapid.Space (+33 629 02 44 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org).