Rackspace challenges AWS, Google, Microsoft with launch of managed Cloud service levels

Hosting company introduces two layers of services to differentiate itself on support and pricing

Rackspace is “going all in on managed Cloud” to better compete against Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft on support and pricing of public Cloud services.

The hosting company has reworked its portfolio to segregate services into two categories – managed infrastructure and managed operations – reflecting its level of involvement in the management of customers’ Cloud environments, and consequently segmenting its pricing.

Rackspace Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) director and general manager, Angus Dorney, told ARN the company introduced this go-to-market because it claims it was unfairly compared to the Cloud offerings of “larger, commodity, self-service models” when it came to price.

“We want to emphasise that Rackspace offers a different level of service, therefore we are appealing to different types of customers that value service, help and support in the Cloud,” Dorney said. “Those customers don’t want to spend money and time to build expertise in their own business to manage Cloud.”

The managed infrastructure offering is Rackspace’s base service level; it is an incident-based service charged at $0.005 per gigabyte (GB) RAM per hour whereby the provider looks after the customer’s infrastructure, and responds to support or management requests as required. This is the default service for all contracts.

The premium managed operations service level ($0.02 per GB RAM per hour) incorporates managed infrastructure, and extends to the inclusion of a dedicated account manager, 24x7 availability monitoring and response, and management of common operating systems and applications stacks such as Web servers and databases.

The service is separated into two streams; one approach allows Rackspace to log into a customer’s servers to manage and fix, while the other uses the company’s DevOps Automation Services which manages infrastructure as code.

The total of a customer’s monthly Rackspace bill is therefore the infrastructure usage rate ($0.04 per GB hour) plus the service level rate.

Dorney claims the managed Cloud approach is beneficial to channel partners because it allows resellers to focus on areas in which they bring value to customers while relying on Rackspace to maintain the infrastructure Cloud piece.

Read more: Cloud management has matured from a scale standpoint: TIBCO

“Some partners might provide value to customers by managing self-service Cloud offerings from competitors, and that’s fine,” he said.

“But where we’ve got partners that provide value up the stack, the benefit is that full managed Cloud offering where we look after all aspects of Cloud to let partners focus on business.”

Dorney said Rackspace will provide partners with service level guarantees of up to 100 per cent of customers’ monthly invoices at its lowest managed infrastructure level, and accelerated payouts (twice its normal service level pay rates) also up to 100 per cent of invoices.

Developing development

Read more: Rackspace plans direct presence in NZ

In addition to its new managed service models, Rackspace has unveiled its developer+ program which provides infrastructure credit for a package of Cloud services for a limited time.

The credit gives developers access to Performance Cloud Server, Cloud Load Balancer, Cloud Monitoring, Cloud Networks, Cloud Backups, Cloud files, Cloud DNS, and built-in ‘email-as-a-service’.

According to a company statement, the program 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.”

Developer+ includes access to public forums, IRC support, online documentation, direct access to Rackspace developers, and a redesigned developer portal.

Read more: Data#3 to deliver $7.5m NPAT for 2014 financial year

Developers are eligible to participate in the program, which is scheduled for a late July launch, for up to 12 months before transitioning to either the managed infrastructure or managed operations service levels.

Know more? Email nermin_bajric@idg.com.au.

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