Rackspace Launches Managed Cloud to Help Businesses Manage, Scale and Support their Clouds

New offering includes enhanced service levels, transparent charging models and a developer+ programme

London, UK – July 15, 2014 – Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), the Managed Cloud company, today announced a new managed service model for delivering public cloud services that gives businesses and developers the help they need to design, manage, scale and grow their cloud operations.

In addition, Rackspace announced “developer +,” a new programme for developers that offers essential services needed to build scalable applications. The programme enables developers to easily sample Rackspace Managed Cloud services and Fanatical Support.

"The cloud market is evolving. More customers are looking for a trusted partner with specialised expertise to help manage their cloud. Rackspace is ideally positioned to lead this Managed Cloud segment of the market,” said Graham Weston, Rackspace co-founder and CEO. “Our new service levels will help businesses tap into the power of the cloud without the pain of recruiting experts in dozens of complex technologies. We are the partner that will be with them every step of the way to make their cloud strategy successful.”


New Managed Service Levels

Under the Managed Cloud umbrella, Rackspace has rolled out two managed service levels: Managed Infrastructure and Managed Operations. Both service levels feature more expertise at lower total cost than companies managing cloud operations on their own. Highlights include:

Managed Infrastructure – This new service level offers a package of benefits for customers that far exceed equivalent services from any other cloud provider. Customers will receive Rackspace’s renowned Fanatical Support, which features:

  • 24x7 access to human cloud engineers
  • Architectural advice
  • Security guidance
  • Code development assistance
  • Launch assistance

Managed Operations – This service level provides customers with Fanatical Support and all the services included at the Managed Infrastructure level, plus additional proactive features such as a dedicated account manager, 24x7 availability monitoring and response, and management of common operating systems and application stacks. Rackspace offers two approaches to deliver its Managed Operations service level to customers:

  • In one approach, Rackspace logs into the customer’s servers to manage and, when necessary, help fix them.
  • The other approach leverages Rackspace DevOps Automation Service, which manages a customer’s infrastructure as code, to help it achieve faster deployments and streamlined operations.

In addition, monitoring and enabling customers to have real-time visibility into their infrastructure is an essential part of the Rackspace Managed Cloud strategy. Customers on both Managed Cloud service levels will now receive Rackspace Cloud Monitoring at no charge. For Managed Operations customers, cloud engineers will also watch the customer’s monitors and respond 24x7 to alerts.

Rackspace’s enhanced service levels also provide additional value and offer a service level agreement that is not available with other providers. Customers on the Managed Operations service level will see SLA credits doubled, up to 100 percent of their fees for the affected components for that month’s billing period.

In addition, Rackspace is highlighting the value it provides over unmanaged cloud providers by offering cloud deployment planning and the availability of proactive assistance included in all of its service levels. Managed Operations customers with planned high traffic events will be able to work with Rackspace to ensure that their Managed Cloud infrastructure is able to cope with the expected levels of traffic. This programme, now only in limited availability for some Managed Operations customers, provides a 10x accelerated SLA credit during these planned events for up to 200 per cent of the customer’s monthly spending, subject to certain restrictions.


Dave Walker, chief technical officer at Kabbee, commented:

“Kabbee is London’s leading price comparison and booking app, and plays an important role in London’s transport service offering. For this reason, we absolutely cannot risk our app being slow, or even worse, down. With an average of 1,000 quotes being generated each minute by up to 500,000 users, we experience major peaks in demand, and this must not affect the speed at which the app works.

“All our supplier decisions are extremely well thought out, and when the time came for Kabbee to choose a new cloud provider, we found that the usual suspects couldn’t provide us with the service guarantee that we need to offer to our users.

“The difference with Rackspace is that they came to us with a managed solution that meant we could outsource 90 per cent of our infrastructure requirements to their support guys, leaving our people to continue to deliver great service to customers and our 15,000 minicab drivers alike. Our Rackspace team is very engaged in Kabbee's business model, the product, and our technical requirements, and that allows us to focus on what we do rather than having to be an infrastructure specialist as well.”

Guillaume Aubuchon, CTO at DigitalFilm Tree, which provides pre- and post-production services to the movie industry commented:  

“Rackspace is a huge part of our application development. It’s crucial that we have instant access to someone who knows both Rackspace’s infrastructure and our application to help guide and support us as we scale up or build out new features. The value of Rackspace Managed Cloud goes well beyond that. Without Rackspace, we would spend more than $100,000 per year on an in-house engineer to keep our Critique servers running 24x7. Rackspace lets us focus on work that will grow our application and make our business more efficient and profitable.”


Managed Cloud Pricing Model

Rackspace’s Managed Cloud pricing model applies to all new public cloud customers, and is optional for existing ones. It features more transparency by highlighting the price of cloud infrastructure as distinct from service and support. This model allows customers to more accurately compare the true cost of cloud infrastructure from provider to provider. For instance, Rackspace’s Performance Cloud Servers start at 2.75p per hour for 1GB server. These include RAID 10 SSD, redundant components, and ECC RAM all running in highly reliable Rackspace data centres. It also delivers more clarity around all the services that Rackspace provides - services that customers of unmanaged cloud providers have to obtain on their own, by hiring engineers.

Managed Infrastructure offers a service level rate of £0.0035 per GB/hr RAM, with a £35 per month minimum, plus standard infrastructure rates.

Managed Operations offers a service level rate of £0.0150 per GB/hr RAM, with a £350 per month minimum, plus standard infrastructure rates.

With this pricing model, customers will be able to see their infrastructure pricing in comparison to the market.

Rackspace will also continue to provide volume pricing discounts, so as a customer grows, the price of additional servers declines. These discounts are automatically applied. As a customer grows, its unit cost will decrease. Volume discounts range from four to twenty four per cent and will start at compute usage rates of £4,000 a month.

"Competition in the public cloud market has accelerated in the past year; however, Rackspace’s Managed Cloud approach provides an opportunity for significant differentiation from the rest of the pack,” said Melanie Posey, research vice president at IDC.  “Rackspace's new Managed Cloud strategy featuring enhanced SLAs and its long track record in delivering superior support will create sustainable competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded market."


developer+ Programme

Rackspace’s new developer+ programme provides an infrastructure credit for a package of cloud services for a limited time. It is designed for developers who want to stay fast and lean and focus their engineering talent on building their app, rather than swelling their payroll with engineers who manage IT operations that don’t differentiate their business. This programme paves the way for customers to grow with Rackspace, and to understand and adopt its hybrid and specialised services. It empowers developers not only to experience Rackspace’s offerings, but to also build and scale out cloud applications leveraging the full Rackspace cloud portfolio, including the recently announced OnMetal product which is available in the US at the moment.

For customers participating in the developer+ programme, Rackspace will provide an infrastructure credit, which covers a Performance Cloud Server, a Cloud Load Balancer, Cloud Monitoring, Cloud Networks, Cloud Backups, Cloud Files, Cloud DNS and built-in Email as a Service via Mailgun, for example. In addition, developer+ customers will be able to consume all other Rackspace cloud services in any region at the adjusted infrastructure prices without the bundled service level rates.

Developers will have access to public forums, IRC support, online documentation, direct access to Rackspace developers, alongside a fully redesigned developer portal. Developers are eligible to participate in this programme for up to 12 months before transitioning to either the Managed Infrastructure or Managed Operations service levels. The developer+ programme will be available to customers in late July.

For additional information on Rackspace’s Managed Cloud strategy and new offerings, please read the blog by Rackspace President, Taylor Rhodes.