Help For Heroes One Of First UK Organisations to Benefit from Rackspace Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure

Military veterans charity uses new offering to handle website traffic caused by flagship fundraising event

London, UK – 16 May, 2016 - Rackspace® (NYSE: RAX), today announced the general availability of Fanatical Support® for Microsoft Azure™ in European regions, following the US launch in July 2015. Armed forces charity Help For Heroes® is one of the first organisations in the UK to take advantage of the new solution after acknowledging the need for a managed layer on top of its Azure IT infrastructure.

The offering allows companies to speed up their deployment of Azure, minimise costs and optimise performance. Rackspace engineers will provide application and infrastructure architecture guidance, making it easy for customers to utilise the many features available through the platform.

Help For Heroes was already powering its eCommerce platform with a Rackspace dedicated solution when it signed up to use Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure in November 2015. It did this after realising a need for support to help run its operational systems that reside on the Microsoft platform. The charity was founded in 2007 by former Army Captain Bryn Parry and his wife Emma Parry. Since then they have rapidly grown the charity that raises money for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women which it uses in a variety of ways such as running Recovery Centres, offering financial Grants and helping people build a new career after the military.

One of the main reasons Help for Heroes uses Azure is because it’s resilient and can maintain a high level of website uptime. This is crucial for the organisation because if it experienced any downtime when fundraisers were not able to process donations, it would have a negative impact on the amount of money being given to the people who need it. The solution helps avoid this situation by being able to handle sudden traffic spikes - a common cause of downtime.

The charity is currently using Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure to handle the influx of website visitors that it’s receiving ahead of one of its major fundraising events of the year which takes place in June, The Big Battlefield Bike Ride. Even more challenging for the IT team are unexpected traffic spikes, when surges of donations need to be processed.

Charles Bikhazi, Head of Application Services at Help For Heroes, said: “Being able to scale up quickly is important, but so is scaling down during times that are more quiet. As with any charity, we’re always looking to make cost savings where possible and that’s exactly what this solution has delivered. Now, we only pay for infrastructure that’s actually being used which ensures that costs don’t spiral out of control. The new offering gives us access to this much needed scalability and resilience without the burden of having to run the platform ourselves.”

Paul Bolt, VP & General Manager of Microsoft, UK at Rackspace, said: “Organisations like Help For Heroes see great value in the Azure platform and its range of features. The new solution gives firms access to 24/7/365 support from a team of Azure experts, which provides an alternative to managing Azure in-house. By relying on Rackspace to take ownership of running the platform, companies no longer need to take on the job of hiring a group of specialists and can free up time that can be spent focusing on priority business goals.”

The new solution is part of Rackspace’s strategy to support businesses in the multi-cloud world, where many of them are running workloads on more than one cloud platform. As a managed cloud company, Rackspace offers access to highly trained support teams that can help customers simplify adoption, evaluate risk and manage operations across their preferred technologies. Rackspace has developed support capabilities for several platforms in response to a growing demand from customers, and part of this initiative was a refined support offering for Azure.

Rackspace has adapted the service levels offered on Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure to mirror what it currently provides for other major infrastructure technologies. This helps ensure that customers have a consistent experience across multiple clouds and receive a more uniform approach to the levels of tooling, automation and expertise that they receive. Rackspace offers two service levels within the new solution – Navigator and Aviator – which span the migration, architecture, security and operations needs of businesses. To learn more about this, read our latest blog.

Today’s announcement is a natural progression of Rackspace’s longstanding relationship with Microsoft, which goes back 14 years. The company began providing support for customers running Windows and Windows Web Server (IIS) in 2002, and has since added to those early offerings with support for platforms such as Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 and Microsoft Private Cloud. Today, Rackspace is one of the world’s leaders in service and support for these products, and in 2015 it was named Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year for a record fifth time.