A Sneak Peek at our Plans in the Cloud

Filed in by Lew Moorman | June 17, 2009 10:54 am

Last week we briefed some key partners and customers on our view of the emerging world of on- demand computing, including some plans around our offers. 

We want to share with you some highlights. 

We firmly believe the era of on-demand computing is upon us.  Over the next decade, we predict the de facto model of consuming computing will not be from an in-house server farm but over the web via on-demand computing providers.  Why?  Well, given the new tools and services associated with cloud hosting  and more mature models like dedicated hosting and SaaS (software as a service), the options to get all your computing over the web have become vastly more affordable and flexible than in-house alternatives.  We encourage you to examine the benefits of a “no servers” approach to your business, instead opting to get computing services as you need them. 

Over the coming months, you will see a lot from Rackspace to help make this transition super compelling.

We gave a sneak preview of a few focus areas: 
1. We are moving all our services under the Rackspace brand.  We will continue to have 3 distinct service areas:  Managed Hosting, Cloud Hosting and Email and Apps.  We have focused, dedicated teams working to build out the best of breed offerings in each of these areas, but we believe that most companies will want to use services across all 3 computing services.  Different workloads require different tools and we want to bring you the best for all your core computing needs.  While full integration does not exist across all 3 offers, we will be moving in that direction over time.  But, you can be assured you are dealing with Rackspace and our trademark Fanatical Support® standard will be a part of each offer.

2. The first area of integration surrounds what we call Hybrid Hosting.  Imagine having core systems in a managed environment with dedicated equipment and firewalls for security, but behind the firewall access to unlimited cloud resources on-demand for your web and application tiers.  Or private connections to the cloud to offload data for warehousing and computational work.   Well, it is coming.  Stay tuned.

3. We are also very focused on advancing our Cloud Servers product quickly.  We have had great traction on an offer that includes persistent storage, DNS services, auto resizes and other easy to use tools.  But, we are a missing a few things.  One is API’s: As you may know, we’ve recently released the API spec for public comment – after all, the people using the spec should define it. We’ve received great feedback on it already (thanks!). It will be released to the public in July and you can expect a lot of cool partner tools quickly. Two, what about Windows?  Half the market simply cannot use Cloud Servers.  Well, Windows for Cloud Servers is officially coming.  Our plans include offering fully supported Windows.  We want to offer high performance Windows that supports the latest OS and database builds and also meets Microsoft’s supportability standards.  Achieving this high bar comes with some complications which is causing our longer timelines.  But, the work is underway.

4. Finally, we have big plans for our Apps and Email division.  We are currently supporting over 1.2 million business class email seats.  We continue to build out the best Exchange-IMAP hybrid email system that brings huge saving to our customers.  But, we are also moving on to the next core IT problem.  We want to help businesses solve their basic storage issues.  So in the coming months you will see a few new offers from us.  One, an advanced, but low cost mail archiving offer.  So whether you are sick of managing large PSTs or need a compliance tool, giving your employees unlimited archiving will soon be an affordable option.  Next, we plan to offer a variety of tools to help with basic collaboration and backup.  Every business needs a basic fileshare.  A centrally managed, infinitely scalable fileshare is on the way.  And, want to offer your employees an automated PC backup and web access tool?  Stick around. 

We are very excited about these and many other projects in the works.  We hope this collection of on-demand services will help you say no to your next server purchase.  We plan to remove the burdens of technology lock in, slow lead times, expensive build-outs, and unsupported technologies.  We are just getting started.  Keep the feedback coming!

Computing In The Cloud Era
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