Professional Services — For Every Step Along Your Cloud Journey

Jaret Chiles

Professional Services — For Every Step Along Your Cloud Journey

The journey to the cloud is different for every organization.

Some have been mandated to get out of the data center. Others are seeking to innovate, minimize risk and adapt more quickly to market changes. Most aim to save money and boost efficiency.

Whatever the reason, according to 451 Research, more than 70 percent of organizations with 10,000 or more employees are undertaking an IT transformation initiative — and most of those, recognizing a shortage of in-house talent and resources, are looking for guidance from a trusted partner.

Wherever you are in your journey, Rackspace has almost certainly already navigated that territory. We have experience with every major cloud platform and technology, and have now honed that expertise to offer a robust portfolio of professional services designed to take you from the beginning of your cloud journey through the end — or at any step along the way.

Traditional professional service organizations, with expertise centered on consulting rather than technology, can make recommendations, and even implement solutions in most cases. What they can’t do is offer ongoing support. Rackspace, which has been helping customers manage their cloud environments for almost two decades, has the technology chops to guide you along the entire journey, then will stay to manage and optimize your cloud platforms — if that’s the level of service you want.

The Customer Cloud Journey

We recently broke down the journey into actionable steps: Plan, Assess, Design, Migrate, Manage and Optimize.

It’s an approach that can be used to push through one application bundle at a time and repeated as needed, for Agile development, or across a broader, end-to-end process for more traditional “waterfall” development.

Learn more about Rackspace’s customer cloud journey approach to IT Transformation

 All the steps in our approach are captured in our recently launched Global Solutions and Services, which offers end-to-end world-class expertise and professional services to identify and implement solutions to all the challenges organizations face today in the journey to the cloud.

By taking advantage of our almost two decades of multi-cloud expertise, customers can partner with Rackspace for solutions to your particular challenges, consuming just the services you need, when you need them, to accelerate growth and innovation in the cloud, enabling faster and more efficient IT transformation.

Learn more about Global Solutions and Services.

Professional Services

Global Solutions and Services includes a slate of professional services, advanced cloud consultants and partners who will work with you on individualized plans to architect, migrate, manage and optimize your selected solutions. Professional Service offers the following services:

 Within the cloud journey framework, we offer specific services that allow us to dive deep into your goals, needs and limitations to craft specific solutions for your business. Each service can be consumed independently, or combined to create the exact level of guidance and management you need. They include services for Cloud, Application, Data, Security and Governance.

Cloud Services

Multi-Cloud Accelerator

“We often have customers come to us after a specific business event – a mandate from the CIO, a merger/acquisition, or shrinking budget,” says Infrastructure Transformation Practice Lead (Americas) Deepen Shah. “They have a good understanding of their application portfolio, but they don’t have the expertise in house to choose the best-fit cloud platform for each application, for cost efficiency and the best way to onboard minimizing disruption. Our Multi-Cloud Accelerator solves for that.”

The service includes a cloud maturity readiness assessment, evaluating applications, infrastructure and data readiness for the cloud. Experts from Shah’s team gather information on people, processes, governance and operations to determine how much change is needed across the organization. Deliverable reports include app and infrastructure portfolio analysis, business case and ROI estimate, cloud platform capabilities mapping and a deployment strategy.

Migration Services

“When you hear people talking about tech acceleration, that’s us,” says UK Professional Services Manager Chris Talliss. “Migration planning is for customers who have critical apps they want to move, but either don’t have the in-house expertise to move them, or their IT is dedicated to other projects or running the business.”

This is really about business aspirations, Talliss says, “and whether the current technology they’re using is aligned with future business requirements as they see it. If they’re misaligned, they need to migrate. Proper planning allows us to safely facilitate innovation, allow the IT team to continue to add strategic value to the business, and accelerate the reason they’re choosing to change platforms in the first place: to accelerate the return on their investment.”

Ideally, Rackspace’s experts are brought in during the planning stages, but they can also help salvage a plan gone awry. Our experience with how legacy systems and cloud solutions mesh forms the foundation of our migration planning and strategy service. The team begins with an assessment and inventory of your apps, their criticality, how they’re run, who uses them and when and what language they’re written in. That forms the basis for a work plan with a migration path for each application.

Botched migrations can be incredibly costly, causing everything from broken platforms, lost data and lost revenue all the way to loss of life, Tallis says. “The stakes really couldn’t be higher.”

Nearly half of all CIOs experienced a migration failure in 2015, according Vision Solutions’ 2016 State of Resilience Report, while its year-over-year analysis showed that percentage rising. Not surprisingly, downtime and overtime were the costliest challenges.

Our primary goal is to mitigate the risk, limiting downtime, overtime and production overall. Talliss described one customer with business aspirations beyond their current capacity that required a ten-fold increase in volume on their platform. “They couldn’t afford any downtime,” he said. “We built the platform, then used our best practices, got it right the first time with no unplanned downtime.”

Load Testing

This service helps prepare your website for the unexpected to help prepare for traffic spikes, plus vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, to help identify security vulnerabilities and meet compliance requirements.

Load testing is the process of putting stress on a site or application and measuring its response time. This allows us to offer custom recommendations for optimizing performance. Load testing pushes the limits of site performance with simultaneous users (5, 50, 500, etc.) to identify when, how and why issues occur. Tests can scale up to hundreds of thousands of virtual users, performing a variety of tasks on the site, from all over the globe.

Proper load testing is essential preparation to ensure that your environment is able to meet performance and availability requirements. Load testing should be done before seasonal spikes, retailer promotions and launches.

Application Services

DevOps Accelerator

“This workshop focuses on the application layer,” says Lead Application Transformation Consulting Architect Itari Ighoroje. “We work one-on-one at your location, with DevOps and applications specialists to asses your business objectives, pain points, architectures, applications and platform delivery processes, monitoring — even your organizational culture — then provide concrete solutions and a strategic roadmap for achieving your goals.”

Rackspace DevOps experts use best in class tools and results-obsessed customer service to support your workloads at scale across the leading public and private clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack and VMware.

DevOps Projects/DevOps Maintenance

Getting started with DevOps can be a challenging process. It requires specialized skills and changes in organizational discipline and culture.

Rackspace offers DevOps professional services to accelerate your DevOps journey. Learn techniques behind resource provisioning, continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) and automated application performance monitoring.

Speaking of a recent customer, Ighoroje said, “They weren’t architected to scale horizontally, and didn’t have consistent development environments. Each new developer did their own thing, they didn’t have multiple environments so were trampling on each other, couldn’t stage or test, lots of errors, plus deployment was manual, so if someone else came in, it was error prone and a mess.”

Now, he said, “they can spin up local environments in the cloud at the click of a button, then the deployment of software, all automated. We deployed the app using new, scalable architecture then spun it up for them.” As part of the maintenance package, “you get a certain number of hours a month, where we’ll make changes and optimize your environment.”

Data Services

Big Data Accelerator

This service is for those who want to be able to get a jump start on a big data initiative, says Chandra Salem, Lead Big Data Consulting Architect. “It’s meant for customers looking to transform legacy databases and data warehouses into modern data store technologies on public clouds and single tenant private cloud. Since we also offer the platform support at the IaaS and Data Store tiers, the transition from design & development to operations is seamless”

Big data offers several benefits that traditional systems don’t, he says: “Relational databases tell you what happened yesterday and requires a rigid data model. Further they are very difficult to scale at cost and don’t support advanced analytics paradigms. But Big Data technologies with capability to handle large volumes of unstructured data from diverse sources and perform predictive analytics comes with ability to scale horizontally at cost We can look at gaining true value from data assets.

That value is one reason the Big Data Accelerator is one of Rackspace’s most popular services. Another is the critical shortage of big data experts. Big Data implementations require a diverse array of integrated skill sets – ranging from cloud IaaS, security, Big Data platform technologies and application programming. Because demand outstrips supply, firms often ask internal or contract personnel to work beyond their core competencies, which can significantly slow down and even doom implementations. The Big Data Accelerator brings all of these diverse skills in a single integrated offering to ensure the right expertise for the right phase.

Security and Governance

Security Testing

Periodic vulnerability scanning and penetrating testing are part of the essential due diligence necessary to adhere to compliance regulations such as PCI and HIPAA.

Vulnerability scanning is an essential tool that evaluates environment health without being intrusive.

Penetration testing involves a skilled licensed tester manually attempting to hack an environment and gain access to information that is otherwise secure, to identify security weaknesses. The tester poses either as an internal employee attempting to gain unauthorized information or as an external user attempting to gain access to information that is secure and private.

The key benefits of scanning and testing, which can be used together, include detection of where the opportunities for malicious hacking lie within the application and/or exactly how, where and why your environment will experience issues when under load, and understanding the security risk in an application or customer data.

Project Management as a Service 

If your organization lacks the staff or expertise to pull off a major cloud project, Project Management as a Service could be right for you.

Offered now in the UK and soon to be available globally, our highly qualified project management specialists will take charge of your cloud project from start to finish. Our experts are certified PRINCE2 or equivalent level, and, using proven PM frameworks, can tailor even the most complex cloud projects to deliver real insight and expertise — while you get on with running your business.

They’ll work with you to confirm the need for the project, plan and identify roles and responsibilities. You are involved in all decisions that have a direct influence in achieving the project objectives. PMs will track, review and regulate the project’s progress, and finalize all stages and review objectives to make sure success has been achieved. They will provide actionable deliverables on a regular basis to keep the project on track, and avoid project creep. Signoffs positively affirm the project is on the right track and obligations are met.

Take the cloud journey with Rackspace

Whether you’re seeking guidance with just one part of your journey to the cloud, or want a trusted advisor every step of the way, Rackspace has you covered. Our experts will help you evaluate the costs and risks of improving your infrastructure, enabling your business to quickly and cost effectively innovate and transform.

Learn more about Rackspace Professional Services.