The Tenth Annual RAX.IO Conference Sparks Innovation at Work
by Amanda Halbritter, Senior Global Content Marketer, Rackspace Technology
Tech talks, workshops and discovery sessions are just a few of the events Rackers were able to attend during the week of our internal 2022 RAX.IO conference. For ten years, Rackers have convened to share ideas, experiences and to put faces to names across the entire organization.
“One of our strengths as a company is that we build strong relationships and use them to build a strong foundation to achieve great outcomes for ourselves and our customers,” said Jason Straw, DevOps Engineer IV and co-chair of the Global Tech Crew. “We encourage the attitude of looking beyond ourselves and applying it to every level of what we do at Rackspace Technology.”
The conference was launched with the mission to bring all Rackers, often from disparate business units, together to talk about topics that are important to them and that can positively affect the organization's trajectory as a whole.
The five-day event included over 40 talks, seven partner talks, and five workshops, including an AWS Gameday. The conference is hosted by our Global Tech Crew and is solely for Rackers by Rackers across the globe, interested or involved in building and maintaining Rackspace Technology®, infrastructure and services.
“Whether or not your official job title involves the word ‘developer’ or ‘engineer,’ if you are a Racker who has a vested interest in building and maintaining Rackspace Technology, infrastructure, and services, this event is for you,” said Travis Runty, Chief Technology Officer of Cloud Operations and executive sponsor for the Global Tech Crew.
During the RAX.IO conference, Rackers are encouraged to talk about ways they’re transforming Rackspace Technology. Whether through products or solutions that have been or are being actively developed within the business. They can present technical solutions and strategies for working remotely, share operational efficiencies that are being generated, or opportunities to utilize automation while Solving Together™ for tech debt or creating practices for increasing collaboration across the entire business.
The talks are a 30-minutes long, consisting of a 25-minute presentation about a topic with five minutes for questions and answers. At the same time, the workshops are two-hour interactive sessions usually designed around labs or a set of learning opportunities that allow participants to dive deeper into new or important technologies and sharpen their skillsets.
"I've had the great privilege of attending and presenting at every RAX.IO conference since joining Rackspace Technology over five years ago," said Dr. Laura Faulkner, Head of Research and co-presenter of the talk Accessibility -- Digital, Doable, Inclusivity at Scale! at this year's conference. “The RAX.IO team continues to dazzle, inform, and engage Rackers deeply with technology and topics that matter. It never ceases to elevate the conversations and practices of who we are and what we do here."
The conference also hosts unconferences, 60-minute open forums focusing on a topic the community votes for inclusion during the event. Unconferences represent a terrific opportunity for our Rackers to meet people of like minds in parts of the business outside their own. In the past, these sessions generated cross-functional business teams that worked together on standards and innovation around networking and other aspects of Rackspace Technology's technical work.
Initially, the conference launched as an in-person event hosted at the San Antonio, Texas headquarters, commonly referred to as The Castle. And in 2017, the Global Tech Crew expanded its reach to include remote Rackers worldwide by integrating virtual streams via zoom webinars.
However, like many of the events across the organization, it had to pivot to an entirely virtual experience with the onset of COVID-19 protocols. Five weeks ahead of the conference in 2020, the pandemic forced the organizers to make the transition to a virtual format that could scale for a global audience.
“We were catering breakfast and lunch for five days for everyone at The Castle and had literally put in food orders the week before they closed all the offices,” said Straw. “But as soon as it was obvious that it was no longer safe to have people in the offices, we shut them all down and pivoted to an all-virtual event.”
This year, over 730 Rackers across the world registered to attend the virtual conference. Rackers tuned in remotely from the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Poland, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Mexico, India, Hong Kong, Germany, Egypt, Colombia, Canada, and Belgium to connect and engage.
Even with the transition, the event has not seen a slowdown, and we cannot wait to see what innovative thought RAX.IO continues to spark as we prepare for next year!
Learn more about how our Rackers are committed to providing a Fanatical Experience™ for each other and the customers we serve.