Rackspace IT: Drive To The Open Cloud

Filed in Cloud Industry Insights by Steve Mills | February 18, 2013 2:00 pm

Like many other enter­prise IT shops, Rack­space IT is turn­ing to ser­vice providers to help us design, pro­vi­sion and sup­port enterprise-class sys­tems. Our goal is to more effi­ciently and effec­tively serve our inter­nal cus­tomers. We want to take advan­tage of effi­cien­cies and scale that the open cloud[1] can pro­vide and we need help to do it. With this in mind, we’ve kicked off a pro­gram called “Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud.” The focus of the program is for Rack­space IT to become an enter­prise cus­tomer of Rack­space, lever­ag­ing the same solu­tions Rack­space offers our many exter­nal cus­tomers and dri­ving as many of our enter­prise appli­ca­tions as pos­si­ble to the Rack­space open cloud.

Over the past three months, Rack­ers from IT, Advi­sory Ser­vices, Sup­port, Prod­uct, Finance, Mar­ket­ing and other teams across Rack­space have worked together to set high level goals for the Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud pro­gram and to scope and plan the first phase of the migra­tion. Now we are ready to go!

There are three main goals we’re focused on deliv­er­ing through the program:

  1. Lead­ing the enter­prise charge to the open cloud. Many enter­prise cus­tomers are look­ing for ser­vice providers to help with mis­sion crit­i­cal IT needs and help them move towards the open cloud. As a “friendly” enter­prise cus­tomer mak­ing this same jour­ney, Rack­space IT will be in a great posi­tion to pro­vide ongo­ing feed­back and help Rackspace’s prod­uct teams iden­tify, design and deliver addi­tional prod­ucts and ser­vices needed by enter­prise IT shops. Rack­space will gain big cred­i­bil­ity by demon­strat­ing that we under­stand and can reli­ably meet enter­prise IT’s needs. Through Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud, we will pro­duce a “play book” for the IT enterprise.
  2. Improv­ing infra­struc­ture deliv­ery and avail­abil­ity. Rack­space excels at pro­vi­sion­ing hard­ware and oper­at­ing sys­tems, keep­ing these sys­tems healthy, and when they do fail, quickly restor­ing ser­vice. Much like other enter­prise IT shops, Rack­space IT is look­ing to lever­age this capa­bil­ity and take advan­tage of Fanat­i­cal Sup­port[2] to pro­vide improved ser­vice lev­els to our own inter­nal customers.
  3. Help­ing improve our abil­ity to sell to the IT enter­prise. Sell­ing to enter­prise cus­tomers is dif­fer­ent than sell­ing to SMB cus­tomers. It requires a deeper under­stand­ing of what enter­prise shops are asked to do and what chal­lenges they face with deliv­er­ing it. By help­ing our Sales and Advi­sory Ser­vices teams bet­ter under­stand the needs of enter­prise IT, we can help bet­ter posi­tion them to offer solu­tions that truly res­onate with enter­prise IT leaders.

With goals set, we’ve tar­geted the fol­low­ing activ­i­ties for com­ple­tion in the first half of 2013:

Migrate 10-plus IT Appli­ca­tions to the Rack­space Pub­lic Cloud. In doing so, we’ll demon­strate how enter­prise IT shops can rapidly and cost-effectively pro­vi­sion envi­ron­ments and reduce their infra­struc­ture foot­print, two goals of almost any enter­prise IT infra­struc­ture leader. Doing this using the Rack­space open cloud will cre­ate a great case study for our enter­prise cus­tomers and prospects.

Pro­vi­sion Devel­op­ment and QE Envi­ron­ments on the Rack­space Open Cloud. Devel­op­ment and test­ing can be dynamic efforts, and Devel­op­ers and Qual­ity Engi­neers will ben­e­fit from self-service access to envi­ron­ments on demand. Rack­space IT plans to accom­plish this using the Rack­space Pub­lic Cloud and, in the process, demon­strate the value of this approach to other enter­prise IT shops.

Host a Dynamic Big Data Ware­house on the Rack­space Open Cloud. The Ana­lytic Com­pute Grid (ACG) is an elas­tic data ware­house that com­bines big data tech­nolo­gies with open source tech­nolo­gies and the dynamic scale of the open cloud to deliver scal­able, cost-effective ana­lytic power. Our Enter­prise Busi­ness Intel­li­gence team is already using a pri­vate instance of OpenStack[3] to run Rackspace’s ACG, and it’s a great story to share with other enter­prise IT shops that are hun­gry for ways to cost-effectively crunch expo­nen­tially increas­ing amounts of data.

Host Billing and Finan­cial Appli­ca­tions with Rack­space. Billing and finance appli­ca­tions are often the back­bone of enter­prise IT appli­ca­tion port­fo­lios: highly com­plex sys­tems that sup­port one or more major busi­ness func­tions. In addi­tion, any pub­licly traded com­pany must com­ply with Sar­banes Oxley (SOX) reg­u­la­tions that gov­ern the man­age­ment of such sys­tems. SOX adds a layer of com­plex­ity on top of already com­plex envi­ron­ments, and by demon­strat­ing that Rackspace can suc­cess­fully host SOX appli­ca­tions, we demon­strate that we can reduce this com­plex­ity for our cus­tomers. By host­ing our new billing sys­tem with Rack­space, we can demon­strate that we’re capa­ble of doing the same for other big cus­tomers and present them with a great case study.

Host our Enter­prise Iden­tity and Access Man­age­ment Sys­tems with Rack­space. Every enter­prise IT shop must pro­vide iden­tity and access man­age­ment ser­vices. By host­ing, mon­i­tor­ing and man­ag­ing such appli­ca­tions for IT, Rack­space will demon­strate that we can do the same for other enter­prise IT shops.

Offer Rack­space Hosted Share­Point as an Enter­prise Ser­vice. Share­Point[4] is one of the most pop­u­lar, and at the same time com­plex, ser­vices that enter­prise IT shops are tasked with pro­vid­ing. Rackspace’s turnkey offer­ing has tremen­dous appeal for enter­prise IT and, again, we will show them how it is done via Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud.

And there’s more to come.

Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud is more than a pro­gram; it’s a new direc­tion for Rack­space IT and a new model for the enter­prise IT shop. We are already work­ing with the Prod­uct teams on plans to move Rack­space cor­po­rate email to our hosted email offer­ing[5] and will con­tinue to move more and more of our enter­prise appli­ca­tions to Rack­space as we drive towards the open cloud. For new appli­ca­tions that we build or buy, we will start with the Rack­space Pub­lic Cloud as our pre­ferred host­ing solu­tion before we con­sider other options. As we write the enter­prise play­book for mov­ing to the open cloud, we are also defin­ing a future state for IT that lever­ages Rack­space for as many ser­vices as pos­si­ble. This will cre­ate a lean, fast enter­prise IT shop that has fewer dis­trac­tions and more abil­ity to focus on dri­ving busi­ness value.

Endnotes:
  1. open cloud: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/
  2. Fanat­i­cal Sup­port: https://www.rackspace.com/whyrackspace/support/
  3. OpenStack: http://www.openstack.org/
  4. Share­Point: http://www.rackspace.com/enterprise_hosting/sharepoint/
  5. our hosted email offer­ing: http://www.rackspace.com/apps/email_hosting/rackspace_email/

Source URL: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/rackspace-it-drive-to-the-open-cloud/