How We’re Different

It was an honor this morning to appear on CNBC’s Squawk Box for a lively discussion on one of my favorite topics: the future of cloud computing.

We touched on lots of topics: international expansion; the importance of cloud security (just because you forgot your password doesn’t mean someone else can’t figure it out); and our decision to keep Rackspace rooted in Texas.

The conversation inevitably turned to the competition and what sets Rackspace apart from the technology heavyweights battling in the cloud. This conversation is at the heart of Rackspace being the open cloud company and our launch earlier this month of the OpenStack-powered Rackspace open cloud.

We’re the entrepreneurial upstart slugging it out with some of the largest technology companies in the world, and there are several key differentiators that set Rackspace apart. So when Squawk Box co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin asked me point blank how Rackspace is different from our key competitors, my answer was three-fold:

  • The others in this space are generalists, we are specialists. We are laser-focused on Fanatical Support on the open cloud. This is all we do. We don’t have a retail business to worry about. We don’t have dozens of disparate product lines. We are all about cloud hosting in an open environment. Period.
  • Our competitors use closed, proprietary technologies; we use open source technologies. Two years ago we founded OpenStack, the community-driven open source cloud operating system. And just this month we officially moved our public cloud onto OpenStack. We are committed to open standards and open source technologies. We’re putting our customers in the driver’s seat and empowering them to pack up and move if we’re not serving them correctly or if they find another provider that offers better features, service or value. We’re giving our customers the keys to avoid vendor lock-in.
  • The rest of the market is playing a scale game; we’re playing a service game. We live and breathe Fanatical Support as we strive to become one of the greatest service companies in the world. We don’t want to be the biggest; we want to be the best. We’re combining great technology with the human element — knowledgeable, helpful and passionate Rackers who are available to customers 24×7 — to deliver great customer outcomes. We offer technology backed by peace of mind.

There was a fourth point of differentiation that I didn’t have time to mention on CNBC, and that’s our unmatched portfolio of cloud computing services, spanning public and private cloud, and dedicated and hybrid hosting.  We help customers put each workload on the right platform, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

I love getting out there and telling the Rackspace story. Squawk Box was a great opportunity to talk about the cloud and the work we’re doing. Yes, we’re duking it out in the ring with some massive competitors, and Fanatical Support on the open cloud is the one-two punch that will win us the championship belt.

Lanham Napier was the CEO of Rackspace from 2006 to 2014, and now serves as a consultant to the company's leaders. As CEO, he avidly promoted the workplace culture that drives the company’s famed Fanatical Support®. This passion for empowering customers has made Rackspace the acknowledged leader of the open cloud.


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