Rackspace (RAX) is continuing to expand its partner connections, as well as its portfolio of cloud-hosting tools and options, with the announcement this week that it has joined data security vendor Vormetric's Cloud Partner program to bring new encryption and key-management features to the Rackspace public cloud.

Rackspace will provide the features through Vormetric's Transparent Encryption platform. The additional security "combines the performance, flexibility, simplicity and scalability needed to safeguard data-at-rest within Rackspace’s managed cloud environments, enabling customers to address their compliance requirements, and to help protect sensitive information," according to Vormetric.

Both companies view this partnership as a way to strengthen enterprises' faith in public cloud computing by enhancing data security without sacrificing performance. John Engates, CTO at Rackspace, said, "organizations have increasingly adopted Rackspace as their provider of choice for enterprise class cloud and hosting solutions. With Vormetric, we’ve added new capabilities to extend data security practices to our customer implementations across our managed cloud platform."

Meanwhile, Vormetric is keen to emphasize that its security offerings do not come at the expense of performance, since the company deploys "high speed, hardware-based encryption using Intel AES-NI and Secure Key technologies" to deliver security without the performance drawbacks that traditionally ensue from the CPU-intensive task of encrypting and decrypting data, it says.

The partnership closely follows Rackspace's announcement yesterday of new open source database offerings within its cloud hosting environments. Now more than ever, the company appears to believe that giving customers extra options and features that are not always available by default in other public clouds is the key to remaining competitive in the hosting market.