Getting applications into the cloud is only half the battle; management of those applications is another matter entirely. To help make that process easier, Rackspace today announced that it has acquired cloud management and monitoring company Cloudkick.

The two-year-old startup was originally created to offer services that would automate the movement of applications from one host to another, but it has since found further acceptance in automated management.

Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer of Rackspace, said that “Until now, the cloud has been about automating hardware and making it more agile and efficient. But as cloud computing has made it easier to launch servers, companies launch a lot more of them, and use many of them inefficiently—and even lose track of some.

“Cloudkick brings order to that chaos and sprawl. It takes cloud computing to a new level: into automation of the work of system administrators. In addition to providing robust cloud health information, Cloudkick enables automation around deployment and scaling. It makes cloud computing more powerful, with less expense.”

Cloudkick began life as Y Combinator-funded startup. Y Combinator is an angel investment group in Silicon Valley that runs annual rounds of investment where startups send in their pitches to compete with others vying for seed capital.

Paul Graham, partner of Y Combinator, said that “Y Combinator has funded a lot of startups, but it was clear from early on that Cloudkick was going to be one of the big winners. They’re a layer of the cloud-computing infrastructure that practically everyone needs. Rackspace plus Cloudkick should be a good match, thanks to Cloudkick’s service focus and dedication to the open-source community, and Rackspace’s market reach.”

Rackspace hopes to turn the Cloudkick dashboard and management tools into standard management fare on its cloud-hosting platform.