Memo From Rackspace to Channel Partners: Pursue Hybrid Hosting
It sounds so simple: VARs and managed services providers can partner up with major cloud companies like Rackspace Hosting to generate recurring revenues. But is it really that easy? I traded email with Sean McCaffery (pictured), director of cloud channel sales and worldwide operations at Rackspace, to get some perspectives. Central to the discussion: What core opportunities are VARs and MSPs pursuing within the Rackspace Partner Program? McCaffery’s key answer: Hybrid hosting. But that’s not all.
McCaffery kicked off the conversation by sharing some high-level views. He believes end-customers have cloud computing on their minds, so it’s an ideal time for VARs and MSPs to get cloud-educated. He also points to Rackspace’s Fanatical Support as a market differentiator. “For MSPs it’s especially important because service is how they maintain their relationships,” notes McCaffery.
Rackspace also has taken steps to ensure MSPs and VARs retain account control when their end-customers begin to embrace Rackscape’s cloud offerings. “We know there are some misconceptions out there, particularly around losing the customer touch-point, but with our program VARs and MSPs maintain ownership of that relationship and are able to bring additional value to customers by extending Rackspace’s expertise in cloud and Fanatical Support, while bundling in their own services around that,” asserts McCaffery.
To get started, partners may want to explore hybrid hosting opportunities. According to a survey conducted at the Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit in 2010, Rackspace is seeing an “uptick of interest in cloud computing, in particular hybrid hosting –which combines public cloud and dedicated managed hosting,” says McCaffery. Indeed, 46 percent of partners’ customers who are looking at cloud computing have expressed interest in hybrid. Hardly surprising, Rackspace continues to make investments in hybrid hosting.
Amid all the cloud noise, many organizations still need partner guidance to assist with cloud strategies. Fifty-eight percent of those companies interested in cloud computing have only dipped their toes in the water and have yet to put a full strategy around cloud computing, Rackspace found. “This is a big opportunity for VARs and MSPs to provide significant value as trusted business advisors in cloud computing and specialization services, which Rackspace helps them do,” he asserts.
One Partner Program for All
To further assist partners, Rackspace is unifying its channel partner program this year. “Currently we have four different programs that operate on their own and we are working to develop a unified approach, which will mean more synergy and efficiencies for our partners,” says McCaffery. “It’s a big and important goal for Rackspace, so stay tuned for more details before the end of this quarter!”
In the meantime, Rackspace’s individual partner programs have been in growth mode. Over the past year, Rackspace’s channel bookings have grown 218 percent, according to comments from the Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit in October 2010. We’ll be watching to see how the growth rates evolve once Rackspace unifies its partner program.