Like many other enterprise IT shops, Rackspace IT is turning to service providers to help us design, provision and support enterprise-class systems. Our goal is to more efficiently and effectively serve our internal customers. We want to take advantage of efficiencies and scale that the open cloud can provide and we need help to do it. With this in mind, we’ve kicked off a program called “Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud.” The focus of the program is for Rackspace IT to become an enterprise customer of Rackspace, leveraging the same solutions Rackspace offers our many external customers and driving as many of our enterprise applications as possible to the Rackspace open cloud.
Over the past three months, Rackers from IT, Advisory Services, Support, Product, Finance, Marketing and other teams across Rackspace have worked together to set high level goals for the Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud program and to scope and plan the first phase of the migration. Now we are ready to go!
There are three main goals we’re focused on delivering through the program:
- Leading the enterprise charge to the open cloud. Many enterprise customers are looking for service providers to help with mission critical IT needs and help them move towards the open cloud. As a “friendly” enterprise customer making this same journey, Rackspace IT will be in a great position to provide ongoing feedback and help Rackspace’s product teams identify, design and deliver additional products and services needed by enterprise IT shops. Rackspace will gain big credibility by demonstrating that we understand and can reliably meet enterprise IT’s needs. Through Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud, we will produce a “play book” for the IT enterprise.
- Improving infrastructure delivery and availability. Rackspace excels at provisioning hardware and operating systems, keeping these systems healthy, and when they do fail, quickly restoring service. Much like other enterprise IT shops, Rackspace IT is looking to leverage this capability and take advantage of Fanatical Support to provide improved service levels to our own internal customers.
- Helping improve our ability to sell to the IT enterprise. Selling to enterprise customers is different than selling to SMB customers. It requires a deeper understanding of what enterprise shops are asked to do and what challenges they face with delivering it. By helping our Sales and Advisory Services teams better understand the needs of enterprise IT, we can help better position them to offer solutions that truly resonate with enterprise IT leaders.
With goals set, we’ve targeted the following activities for completion in the first half of 2013:
Migrate 10-plus IT Applications to the Rackspace Public Cloud. In doing so, we’ll demonstrate how enterprise IT shops can rapidly and cost-effectively provision environments and reduce their infrastructure footprint, two goals of almost any enterprise IT infrastructure leader. Doing this using the Rackspace open cloud will create a great case study for our enterprise customers and prospects.
Provision Development and QE Environments on the Rackspace Open Cloud. Development and testing can be dynamic efforts, and Developers and Quality Engineers will benefit from self-service access to environments on demand. Rackspace IT plans to accomplish this using the Rackspace Public Cloud and, in the process, demonstrate the value of this approach to other enterprise IT shops.
Host a Dynamic Big Data Warehouse on the Rackspace Open Cloud. The Analytic Compute Grid (ACG) is an elastic data warehouse that combines big data technologies with open source technologies and the dynamic scale of the open cloud to deliver scalable, cost-effective analytic power. Our Enterprise Business Intelligence team is already using a private instance of OpenStack to run Rackspace’s ACG, and it’s a great story to share with other enterprise IT shops that are hungry for ways to cost-effectively crunch exponentially increasing amounts of data.
Host Billing and Financial Applications with Rackspace. Billing and finance applications are often the backbone of enterprise IT application portfolios: highly complex systems that support one or more major business functions. In addition, any publicly traded company must comply with Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) regulations that govern the management of such systems. SOX adds a layer of complexity on top of already complex environments, and by demonstrating that Rackspace can successfully host SOX applications, we demonstrate that we can reduce this complexity for our customers. By hosting our new billing system with Rackspace, we can demonstrate that we’re capable of doing the same for other big customers and present them with a great case study.
Host our Enterprise Identity and Access Management Systems with Rackspace. Every enterprise IT shop must provide identity and access management services. By hosting, monitoring and managing such applications for IT, Rackspace will demonstrate that we can do the same for other enterprise IT shops.
Offer Rackspace Hosted SharePoint as an Enterprise Service. SharePoint is one of the most popular, and at the same time complex, services that enterprise IT shops are tasked with providing. Rackspace’s turnkey offering has tremendous appeal for enterprise IT and, again, we will show them how it is done via Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud.
And there’s more to come.
Rackspace IT: Drive to the Open Cloud is more than a program; it’s a new direction for Rackspace IT and a new model for the enterprise IT shop. We are already working with the Product teams on plans to move Rackspace corporate email to our hosted email offering and will continue to move more and more of our enterprise applications to Rackspace as we drive towards the open cloud. For new applications that we build or buy, we will start with the Rackspace Public Cloud as our preferred hosting solution before we consider other options. As we write the enterprise playbook for moving to the open cloud, we are also defining a future state for IT that leverages Rackspace for as many services as possible. This will create a lean, fast enterprise IT shop that has fewer distractions and more ability to focus on driving business value.