Rackspace currently does everything it can to fight for market share in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) area against the Amazon Web Services. After the poor results in Q1/2013 no easy task. As the driving wheel behind the OpenStack movement, the former managed hosting provider attempts to anchor the topic of open source in the cloud and marketed OpenStack as the Linux of the cloud. But Rackspace challenge is not only to prepare well against Amazon. Even from within its own OpenStack rows more and more competitors grow up, all offering the same technology, API and services based on OpenStack. Be mentioned here only big names like HP, IBM and Red Hat. Due to this very similar range of services – what is a homemade problem – it is difficult for Rackspace to differentiate from the competition, on the one hand, the seemingly all-powerful Amazon Web Services, but also Windows Azure and Google, on the other hand the own OpenStack camp. Rackspace now seems to focus on his well-tried and true strengths, their “Fanatical Support” and wants to help businesses and developers intensively in the use of the Rackspace cloud services.
Help on the way to the cloud
Even as a simple managed hosting provider Rackspace has help its customers with infrastructure management. For its OpenStack based cloud-platform the standard support has now been extended. Customers will now also receive support at the application level including debugging of the application that runs on the Rackspace cloud. This means that the interaction with the customer to be significantly enhanced by not only advice the basics, but even developer-specific know-how. It even goes so far that Rackspace engineers analyze the source code of the application on request and make suggestions for an effective use on the Rackspace cloud and in particular with the Rackspace APIs and SDKs, or even help during the complete development. For developers it should be made easier to understand how their own native application works on the Rackspace cloud and OpenStack.
Support as diversification
Now you may think: Support as diversification? In times of self-service and automation in the cloud? Yes exactly, that’s not so far-fetched and not an unwise move. Necessity is the mother of invention. Rackspace has always placed much emphasis on its support, and enjoys an excellent reputation.
@renebuest in pre-cloud days I greatly appreciated exactly this kind of help from RS
— Jeff Sussna (@jeffsussna) 14. Mai 2013
Furthermore, one should remember that, despite the fact of self-service and the associated terms of easy receiving resources to build a virtual infrastructure respectively to develop an own cloud-enabled application, cloud computing is not easy! I have recently described that in the article “Cloud Computing ist not simple!” and named Netflix as a very positive example. There are just a few user-companies that have permeated cloud computing such as Netflix who have written with their Simian Army like the Chaos Monkey or the Chaos Gorilla test software for a scalable and highly available operation in the cloud. However, if one looks what huge efforts Netflix makes, which are also associated with costs, cloud computing is not something to take lightly, if you want to use it seriously.
For this reason, it is a logical and for me right step by Rackspace to expand their support and help where it matters in the cloud, the scalable and available development of applications that take into account of the characteristics of the cloud. Whether that is enough to catch up Amazon with big steps I dare to doubt. But within the providers that also rely on OpenStack, it is a good way to differentiate themselves from the competition.