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Updated at 2:56 p.m. Pacific with comment from Rackspace.

Rackspace doesn’t want to be in the commodity public cloud business. But it is making one concession to those fast-moving companies.

In announcing today the availability of the OnMetal service, which eschews traditional server virtualization software to slice each physical server into multiple virtual machines for running applications, Rackspace said it would charge by the minute.

Actually Rackspace has always charged for cloud servers by the minute, but it’s the first time the cloud and hosting provider is being vocal about it in marketing materials, John Engates, the company’s chief technology officer, said in an interview with VentureBeat.


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“Maybe the only reason that we did that is because other people, you know, held that out as a feature when we thought of that as par for the course all along,” Engates said.

Google astounded cloud industry spectators last year when it announced plans to charge for the Google Compute Engine public cloud by the minute. Now Rackspace is making claims about per-minute pricing for its newest cloud service, after revealing it last month.

Not that the detail will result in a huge change to Rackspace’s position in the cloud infrastructure market, as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon receive much of the attention. Rackspace has been losing executives lately and has been open to partnerships and acquisition offers.

But hey, Rackspace wants to keep ticking along and integrating hot technologies like CoreOS and Docker. And it intends to appeal to developers as well as big companies. It isn’t about to give up in cloud computing.

By-the-minute pricing aside, OnMetal customers become eligible for discounts when monthly spending exceeds $5,000.

And here’s the OnMetal pricing information from Rackspace’s website:

RAX pricing

Meanwhile Rackspace is also providing performance benchmarks for OnMetal, putting the “bare-metal” servers lacking virtual machines up against Amazon Web Services’ c3.4xlarge instance. See this blog post for detail.

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