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The Open Cloud: Putting Our Mouth Where Our Money Is

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For the past two and a half years, Rackspace has been leading the open cloud revolution — a movement to break the grip of closed, proprietary cloud vendors and instead put choice and power in the hands of customers. For the most part, we’ve kept our heads down: writing code, launching new products and serving customers on our new open platform. But now we’re ready to tell the world what we’ve been doing — and what we can do to boost businesses of all sizes.

Today, an announcement about Rackspace will start to appear in magazines, on websites and in big display ads in airports and other busy locations all over the world. The message is simple: RACKSPACE OPEN-SOURCED THE CLOUD. In partnership with NASA, we founded OpenStack as an open source cloud platform and community. We contributed the code for our cloud, worth millions of dollars, to the project, and put it in the hands of an independent foundation. And now our cloud is the world’s second largest, and we’re running it on OpenStack.

We feel it’s time to share our vision of a world that will no longer be dominated by a few closed, proprietary clouds that lock you in and try to convince you that one size fits all. We’re moving into a world of open standards where a million clouds will soar — where each business customer can find the right cloud for its unique needs, along with the reliability and flexibility that everyone deserves.

Our commitment to the open cloud flows directly out of our mission —to become one of the world’s great service companies — and our purpose: to make IT simple for business. Rackspace exists to help companies with great ideas achieve their goals through easy-to-use, reliable computing.

That’s why we’ve built a product portfolio of unmatched breadth. It lets each customer choose the ingredients for a cloud that fits its specific needs. It spans public and private cloud technologies, including both pooled and dedicated resources — all working seamlessly through our hybrid cloud solution.

That’s why we created a standard of customer service known throughout our industry as Fanatical Support.

That’s why we’ve invested heavily in our data centers and other infrastructure, which have delivered 99.999 percent uptime over the past five quarters.

That’s why today, as we issue the latest, greatest version of our OpenStack-powered Rackspace Private Cloud Software, we will, as before, make it available for free to anyone in the world who wants to use it, or just try it. We don’t want to make money by selling software. We want to earn our pay by helping customers use it, and we’re signing up more and more businesses who want to tap our expertise in launching and operating OpenStack-based private clouds.

In this way and others, our conception of Fanatical Support is expanding. As experts in the open cloud, it’s our job to help guide each customer to the solution that best suits its workloads, goals and budget.

Today’s software release and the launch of our brand campaign make me proud of what our Rackers have accomplished. As our story spreads, I’m confident that more and more businesses will join the open cloud revolution.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, in the comments section below.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lanham Napier.

Lanham Napier was the CEO of Rackspace from 2006 to February 2014, and now serves as a consultant to the company's leaders. As CEO, he avidly promoted the workplace culture that drives the company’s famed Fanatical Support®. This passion for empowering customers has made Rackspace the acknowledged leader of the open cloud.

Napier joined Rackspace in April 2000, a couple of years after its founding. He recognized early on that the company’s employees—dubbed Rackers—and its unique culture of customer service, would be the keys to its success. Napier strove to give Rackers the same exceptional support that they provide to the company’s customers. That approach has won Rackspace recognition by FORTUNE® magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and by Bloomberg Businessweek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company.

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2 Comments

Nice write up & commendable thoughts! Just one small point and I feel that semantics are important as they conjure images of reality based on perceptions.

‘Fanatic Support’ may not always be in the best interest of the customer. When anything is ‘Fanatical’, it gets to a point where its easy to lose sight of the whole underlying cause. Sometimes less is more as they say!

Sometimes in not directly supporting a customer, you create an innate capacity & facilitate an innovative process which the customer would otherwise be incapable of doing or embarking on. But as ‘Rackspace’ you being there on the sidelines to lend a hand as a trust worthy partner would go a long way.

A simple “Trustworthy Support’ is what anyone would pay for & die for. Just my few simple thoughts because I care about the way our world is shaping up & the way technology & people are making a difference.

Warm Regards
Rajeev

avatar Rajeev Sharma on March 7, 2013 | Reply

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. While some companies might not be comfortable with as crazy a term as “Fanatical Support,” we’ve embraced it for a dozen years. What we want to deliver is not just trustworthy support, but customer service that goes above and beyond what a customer might reasonably expect. We apply that standard not only to our response to customer problems but also to the reliability and ease of use that we design into our products and our data centers. We sometimes fall short, but Fanatical is what we strive for.

avatar Lanham Napier [Racker] on March 8, 2013

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