You can read the press release for the particulars about what Rackspace and Amazon are doing together and I’ll link to the best news reports I’ve seen below. In short we made a deal to provide Fanatical Support for AWS plus three additional beta offerings, Managed Security for AWS, Compliance Assistance for AWS, and Managed Cloud for Adobe Experience Manager (which runs on AWS).
What I’m here for is to explain the why.
For that you have to go back to when I first saw Flipboard. That was way back in 2010. I saw it months before it was released and knew it would be a really amazing company. I turned to founder/CEO Mike McCue and asked him “what cloud are you using?” (Even by then in Silicon Valley nearly every startup had decided to use cloud, rather than hosting their own infrastructure in a cage somewhere).. He gave an answer I heard many times before and since: AWS.
Since then, though, the cloud space has gotten a lot more competitive. Microsoft Azure and Google’s App Engine both came along from companies with deep pockets. They are pouring billions into their cloud offerings. At Rackspace we gifted OpenStack to the open source world and it’s taken off, with companies from Comcast to Nike using that to run their businesses. The world of cloud has gotten flatter and more complex, even if you just stay on AWS you’ll see that it has hundreds of APIs, many of which have been added in just the past few years.
Because of that the press has noted that there’s a full on war over cloud. Innovative businesses from Uber to Instagram have bet on it and bet big. Plus, most enterprises are now hosting on cloud, or, at minimum, cloud technology hosted in their own datacenters. Yeah, it’s easy for the highly-technical folks that start new companies. But, let’s be honest, if you know how to build and scale a new service like Uber why would you want to work for, say, a pizza chain when your skills can be used at a pre-IPO startup? Isn’t your local mom and pop pizza chain being asked to build the same kind of apps and systems that Uber has built?
Not to mention there are lots of businesses who don’t know how to deal with being on, say, Shark Tank, or, for the bigger businesses, staying up during a Super Bowl commercial. Getting on that show can bring a 5,000% increase in traffic and if you haven’t built your system properly it can be tough slugging on the busiest and most important day of your company’s life. Heck, I was hanging out with the guy who runs Coachella’s music festival (200,000 attendees) and after I interviewed him he told me he couldn’t get through to his cloud provider on its busiest day of the year — they weren’t answering their phones and forcing him to deal with a slow ticketing system. The day when all of his customers were registering their armbands and loading its app up with the latest schedule — his business was down.
When you say Fanatical SupportⓇ most people don’t recognize just what it means. Unless you’ve either experienced what it means, or the lack thereof, like the chief geek at Coachella.
For companies it means they can focus on their core value proposition — and possibly even save money because they need fewer highly technical staff on their payrolls. It also means that they have an accountable partner (one neck to wring!) that can help them prepare for, and execute, systems that will deal with the business demands they are seeing, whether it be sensor workloads from IoT devices or new millions of new customers that will pop up on a concert tour in one of the new “smart stadiums” like Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara that will host the Super Bowl (it runs on AWS by the way).
Why go with Rackspace support over AWS support? Simply: support and managed services are different. This is why Amazon has a Managed Service Partner program. While we do support the AWS platform as part of our offers, we go beyond that with managed services that speak to how customers should design for, and operate applications on AWS. These opinions are reflected in our tooling, automation, and templates for Navigator (one of our service levels). In our Aviator service level, we operate and manage customer application environments, which go beyond AWS infrastructure support and into in-guest/instance support here. For example, we provide SysAdmin/DevOps expertise to do GuestOS support — logging into servers, configuring, making changes, patching, etc. (i.e., day-to-day operational management with an army of technologists that operate on a 24/7 basis).
We are a managed service provider at our core, it’s who we are. Rackspace has a 16-year heritage of working with businesses to help them make applications more effective and efficient to operate, and we’re the trusted service partner for more than 300,000 customers across 120 countries.
This is why I’m so excited to be part of the 6,000+ employees who are working with Amazon and its CTO Werner Vogels to provide better support to the world that wants to use AWS as its business infrastructure. Now, can we talk?
That’s all sweet and stuff, but this is just part of Rackspace’s new strategy: to provide Fanatical Support for a variety of clouds your business might need. For instance, Microsoft Sharepoint, Exchange, or Azure. Or Magento. Or OpenStack. What this means is we’re the Switzerland of clouds. We’ll support you in the best place for your business. And, in some cases, we’ll recommend different clouds for different parts of your business and support them all.
This is why I’m such a good fit for Rackspace and why I haven’t left to join some startup or head to Alphabet or some other company. Rackspace is uniquely positioned to provide this support. It maps perfectly to my interests in where the future is. IoT? Rackspace supports it. Contextual apps? Rackspace supports those. Enterprise workflows? Rackspace supports those. Robot operating systems? Rackspace will be there. :-) Why? Rackspace has hired for years employees with strengths in people skills. Rackers, as we choose to call ourselves, are curious, listen, and are highly technical. Walk through one of our buildings in London, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Austin, Sydney, or our 1.2-million-square-foot home in San Antonio and you’ll find thousands of geeks who keep the Internet running for 300,000 customers. Many of whom have gone “back to school” over the past couple of years to learn AWS deeply.
To wrap it up, we’d love to be your business partner. Let’s talk! You can find me at email@example.com For more, see http://www.rackspace.com/managed-aws (our official site on AWS Support), http://blog.rackspace.com/newsarticles/rackspace-announces-aws-managed-service-offerings-at-reinvent/ (Press release) and http://blog.rackspace.com/why-is-rackspace-supporting-amazon-web-services/ (Our official “why” from our CEO, Taylor Rhodes). I’ll post more links here as they come available.
Oh, and what does this mean for me?
Well, for the time being I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done: visit the world’s best entrepreneurs and innovators and keep bringing what I learn as Rackspace’s Futurist to Facebook and other places. It is that learning and relationships that is a key part of Fanatical Support and I’m happy to keep looking for the future, no matter what cloud it is running on. I will be doing a wrap up of the news in my weekly newsletter tonight. Please subscribe to that at http://eepurl.com/bjalx5 to get everything I do.