This is a guest blog post written and contributed by Tim Gunter, Director of Infrastructure and DevOps at Vanilla Forums Inc. Vanilla Forums is a Rackspace Cloud customer that provides SaaS-based community forums. Tim and his team recently visited Rackspace's Castle headquarters.
About Vanilla Forums
Vanilla Forums provides a SaaS community forum solution aimed at a wide range of communities, from tiny niche groups to massive sprawling online cities.
Thousands of community forums are powered by our hosted platform, which receive millions and millions of pageviews daily. While some might not think of forums as mission critical system, the thousands of people participating in these communities rely on them for support, information and friendship. It is imperative that our solution meets these needs by delivering stability, reliability, and consistently high performance.
One of our main value propositions is our promise to provide a high quality hosted service at a cost that is comparable to self-hosting. Our flexible and highly-optimized infrastructure allows us to deliver on this promise, but it wouldn't exist without the Rackspace Cloud and Rackspace's mind blowing "Fanatical Support."
What We Like About Rackspace
I recently had the opportunity to visit Rackspace at its headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. I toured the awe-inspiring "Castle" and got to meet some of the people that I had been talking to via email, phone and IM for the last year. Especially rewarding was a peek inside the NOC that monitors all of the servers on which we've built our business.
One of the things that initially surprised me about Rackspace is the willingness of Rackers to provide the kind of support that goes beyond just answering a ticket. I know that when I call for support, I'll be talking to someone who really wants to help me solve my problem, no matter what it is. I've also come to rely heavily on advice and guidance from some extremely talented Rackspace engineers when it comes to designing our infrastructure. I have managed to avoid countless pitfalls thanks to pre-emptive interaction with the Rackspace support team.
My contact with Rackspace Support has always felt extremely personal. I think their unwaveringly positive attitudes and willingness to dive in head first are what have allowed me to develop relationships with our account manager and members of the support team. In particular, I have had the privilege of working with Rob Collazo, Jeremy Wasner, Matt Wilbanks and the rest of the Social Media Team on a regular basis. These guys absolutely love what they do, and it shows when they talk and when you open your mail and find an unexpected care package from team member Christopher Schneider.
What We Learned From Rackspace
During my visit I also learned a lot about Rackspace's operations and culture. It is hard to describe how friendly and happy everyone was, and how positive the atmosphere is at every level. During my tour of The Castle I ran into numerous Rackers hustling and bustling, and each one seemed to genuinely love what they were doing. I was very impressed with that kind of environment and came away with a strong conviction to preserve our own tight-knit, positive attitude even as Vanilla grows larger and larger.
The way I was treated in San Antonio, and the way it made me feel about being one of Rackspace’s customers, showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt the value of great, positive customer interaction.
Plus, I had a blast riding down the slide!
Check out more stories from and about Rackspace customers.