June 26, 2012

2 Min Read
Rackspace, Microsoft Cloud Partnership Accelerates

By samdizzy

Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) has been named the 2012 Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year. It’s the fourth time Rackspace has won the honor, which recognizes managed, cloud and hybrid hosting partners, according to Rackspace Channel Chief Christopher Rajiah.

Generally speaking, Talkin’ Cloud doesn’t spend much time blogging about partner awards and honors because it’s difficult to quantify why one partner was honored over another. But the Microsoft-Rackspace relationship is intriguing — especially as both Microsoft and Rackspace counter Amazon Web Services.

Rackspace spent its early years offering Red Hat-centric infrastructure as a service (IaaS). But Rackspace has

  • vastly increased its Microsoft-centric offerings, introducing Cloud Servers for Windows by mid-2010;

  • expanded its Hosted Exchange business;

  • acquired SharePoint 911 to expand its hosted software collaboration business; and

  • gradually pushed into hosted virtual desktop (HVD) services while working more closely with emerging channel partners like nGenX, a desktop as a service (DaaS) specialist.

Of course, a long list of hosting providers offer SharePoint, Exchange, DaaS and other Microsoft-centric technologies. But Rackspace is the rare cloud services provider (CSP) that has extensive reach ($1 billion in annual revenues) coupled with Fanatical Support.

Generally speaking, small businesses don’t get free phone support with Microsoft Office 365 and Amazon Web Services. But in stark contrast, Rackspace offers phone support to customers of all sizes.

No doubt, Rackspace must compete and cooperate with Microsoft. There will be fierce competition between…

  • Windows Azure vs. Rackspace IaaS and OpenStack;

  • Office 365 vs. Rackspace’s hosted Exchange and SharePoint Services; and

  • some sort of eventual VDI showdown between Microsoft and Rackspace.

But here’s the twist. Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill earlier this year suggested that his company was emerging as the world’s  top cloud software provider. Without partners like Rackspace, Microsoft can’t make such claims.

So where will the Microsoft-Rackspace relationship go from here? The answer will likely surface at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 (WPC 2012, July 8-12, Toronto). Rackspace Channel Chief Christopher Rajiah and several other team members are set to attend the conference…



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