Seven New Ways We’re Helping Customers Manage Multiple Clouds

By jeffcotten -

Seven New Ways We’re Helping Customers Manage Multiple Clouds

At our Rackspace::Solve conferences, we regularly highlight the ways that our customers are using technology and managed services to solve business challenges and seize opportunities. And at this year’s conference today in New York City, we’ve been proud to announce several new ways that customers can drive business success, by better managing the multiple clouds that most of them are using these days.

According to RightScale’s latest annual survey of more than 1,000 IT decision makers, the typical company today uses four clouds in production, across public and single-tenant platforms, and is experimenting with another four. That’s in addition to the workloads those companies continue to run in their corporate data centers, where the great majority of IT still resides.

Eighty-five percent of the companies surveyed by RightScale are pursuing a multi-cloud strategy. Why? One reason, customers tell us, is that they want to focus their scarce engineering resources on their core business, rather than on running data centers and handling IT chores that don’t differentiate them.

The other main reason is that companies want to run each of their workloads where it will achieve the best performance and cost efficiency. Some workloads run better on public clouds, some on private clouds and some in managed hosting environments.

The catch is that this multi-cloud world is highly complex. It’s constantly evolving, and requires regular infusions of scarce and expensive new skills and expertise, and integrations of new technologies. Rather than hiring wave after wave of engineering talent, more companies are looking for a trusted partner with the expertise to manage all of those public, private and managed-hosting platforms, along with critical applications.

Rackspace is striving to serve as that trusted partner, and we were pleased today to update folks with the results of some of the work we’ve been doing on new products and services in recent weeks:

— Many of the workloads that businesses are moving out of their corporate data centers are running in VMware environments. Instead of fully re-architecting these workloads for the public cloud, it makes sense to simply shift them to a single-tenant environment. To ease that shift, we’ve been developing a Software Defined Data Center product called Rackspace Private Cloud Powered by VMware.

This product allows customers to run traditional workloads outside their data centers, without re-architecting those workloads. At the same time, it supports cloud-native architectures. And it allows seamless management of workloads running in corporate data centers and third-party facilities. We’ve been offering RPC Powered by VMware in limited availability since May. And today at Solve, we announced that we are on track to open it to general availability late next month.

— Customers have been asking us to provide a new data center in continental Europe, with a focus on hosting single-tenant workloads. We opened that new DC, in Frankfurt, Germany, just last month. Today we noted that it is already 60 percent occupied, and we expect to expand in the same facility quickly.

— Just last month, we closed on our purchase of TriCore Solutions, the biggest acquisition in Rackspace history. It enables us to deliver the enterprise application management services, including expertise on the Oracle and SAP platforms, that many of our customers have urged us to offer.

We’re busy incorporating TriCore into the Rackspace brand and adding its expertise into our professional services. Already, just weeks after we closed the acquisition, we’re in talks with more than 50 of our existing enterprise and mid-market customers to add enterprise application management to the services they receive from Rackspace.

We’re also seeing longtime TriCore customers leveraging new services from Rackspace. One example is AspenTech, which delivers manufacturing software to 2,100 business customers from its 30 locations on six continents. AspenTech has long relied on TriCore to manage enterprise applications such as Oracle EBusiness Suite and remote database management. Just last week, AspenTech decided to add Rackspace Application Services to manage their Sitecore Experience Platform, which it uses for web content management.

— Last week, at the annual Microsoft Inspire conference in Washington, D.C., we announced that we are providing expertise and Fanatical Support for Microsoft’s new hybrid cloud platform, Azure Stack, which enables customers to seamlessly use both public and private clouds. We’re the only five-time Microsoft Partner of the Year, so it makes sense that we would be a launch partner for its latest product.

— In addition to those updates, we also made three new announcements today at Solve, the first of which was the launch of a new managed service for customers that use Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF), a popular PaaS technology. PCF allows companies to accelerate the building, testing and deployment of applications across multiple public clouds and single tenant environments. PCF is a powerful technology, but like many such technologies, it’s complex and expertise in using it is hard to find. Our customers have asked us to provide that expertise, along with our famed Fanatical Support. So, we’ll be offering Managed Pivotal Cloud Foundry, in general availability, starting today. More information can be found in this press release.

— The second new capability we announced today came about in response to the needs of large, complex customers such as Six Flags, the theme park operator. Six Flags has been a Rackspace customer for more than a decade, using our single-tenant and VMware solutions — and also more recently our managed services for Amazon Web Services.

We just launched our managed AWS service 19 months ago, and it’s growing at an annualized rate of more than 1,000 percent. As we serve more customers on that platform, we’re finding that our larger, more complex customers want our engineers and engineers at AWS to work jointly together to serve them, including in areas such as professional services, migrations and architecture or cost optimization.

In response, we’ve forged an enhanced strategic relationship with AWS, and today announced that our engineers are working directly with their counterparts at AWS. We’re developing better migration tooling, professional services and other services for complex customers like Six Flags — which now plans to run additional workloads on AWS, backed by Rackspace managed services.

Under our enhanced relationship, AWS Professional Services personnel will now work beside us in our headquarters in San Antonio, and in on-site engagements at customers’ offices when necessary.

AWS is also offering significant resources, to support proof of concept projects and migrations that will enable us to better serve customers and prospects, and demonstrate the benefits of the AWS platform, managed by Rackspace’s AWS-certified specialists.

— The third new capability we announced today is intended to serve customers such as Finish Line, an innovative retailer of athletic shoes and apparel. Finish Line is a fairly typical Rackspace customer in that it first engaged us to help run mission-critical, revenue-generating applications. In the case of Finish Line, the application was its e-commerce engine, which we run on our managed single-tenant and VMware platforms, to handle the database intensity. Finish Line is now exploring Google Cloud Platform to run other workloads that will run well in the public cloud. And it’s looking to Rackspace for managed services on GCP.

Today, in response to the needs of customers like Finish Line, we announced the beta launch of Managed Google Cloud Platform. With this launch, Rackspace is now the only managed service provider that supports customers on all three major hyperscale public cloud platforms. And remember, that’s in addition to our support for all of the leading private cloud platforms and our managed hosting service.

Individually, each of these announcements is a significant development when it comes to the capabilities and support Rackspace is able to provide to its customers. And taken as a whole, these announcements form a clear picture of the direction we’re heading, which is directly influenced by customer demand.

Customers are looking for a trusted, unbiased partner that will help them find the best fit for each of its workloads, on leading infrastructures and technologies.

Customers want that partner to provide a consistent, end-to end service experience — from operating system to virtualization to database to application to managed security. And they want that partner to provide these solutions in an integrated fashion, at global scale and in an on-demand manner.

We are working to become that partner for more and more workloads. If you’re a customer, a prospective customer or a partner, we’d love to hear your feedback. And visit Rackspace to find out more about our support for the leading public and private clouds, managed-hosting, and enterprise applications.